Moderna says its COVID-19 vaccine candidate is 94.5% effective

Posted at 7:13 AM, Nov 16, 2020

A COVID-19 vaccine candidate being produced by biotech company Moderna has shown to be 94.5% effective in Phase 3 clinical trials, the company said Monday.

The news means that the company is on track to request Emergency Use Authorization status for the drug in the coming weeks. The vaccine is already being mass-produced and thousands of doses will be ready to ship following authorization.

Moderna's vaccine is closely tied with "Operation Warp Speed," a Trump administration program that provided nearly $1 billion in government funding for research and support, and placed the vaccine on an FDA fast-track.

On Aug. 11, the Department of Health and Human Services announced it was paying $1.5 billion "$1.5 billion in funds to support the large-scale manufacturing and delivery" for 100 million doses of Moderna's vaccine candidate.

Moderna said Monday that 20 million doses of its vaccine will be available to ship by the end of 2020, and is on track to produce between 500 million and 1 billion doses in 2021.

Health experts believe that a vaccine will be available to some people by the end of 2020, and will be widely available in spring 2021. Though it's unclear who specifically will qualify to receive the drug first, doses will need to be rationed for several months before vaccines are widely available.

The release comes a week after Pfizer announced its own vaccine candidate was also on track for mass distribution after showing 90% effectiveness in Phase 3 trials.

Moderna's announcement comes as welcome news to the U.S., where COVID-19 is currently spreading at a rate unseen since the pandemic first hit. More than 1 million people have been diagnosed with the virus in the last week, and at least 100,000 people are confirmed to have contracted the virus each day for the last 13 days.