Panel recommends approval of Moderna vaccine

A U.S. advisory committee earlier today voted to recommended that the Food and Drug Administration grant emergency use authorization for the Moderna mRNA-1273 COVID-19 vaccine.

“Today’s vote will likely lead to the FDA authorizing a second vaccine to help safeguard our community,” said Hawaii Health Director Elizabeth Char. “It was vitally important for this committee of scientists and clinicians to complete an in-depth review of this vaccine.

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“That review involved a clinical trial of more than 30,000 people. It gives us confidence about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. Due to its storage requirements, this vaccine is easier to ship and store than the vaccine already in use.”

The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Committee voted 20-0 in favor of recommending authorization of the Moderna vaccine, with one abstention.

The FDA will review the committee’s recommendation and decide whether to grant emergency use authorization. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will then provide guidance on who can be vaccinated. That guidance is expected in the coming days.

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If the Moderna vaccine is granted authorization, both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines will be distributed to all four counties in Hawaii.

Essential health care workers will be vaccinated at points of dispensing, or PODs, across the state. Vaccinations will be administered at long-term care facilities through a federal partnership with Walgreens and CVS.

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