New York Correspondent
America has given this Friday night the final green light to the second vaccine against Covid-19, the one developed by the American laboratory Moderna, in collaboration with the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases of the USA The Food and Drug Administration (FDA, in its acronym in English) gave the approval for emergency use one day later that an independent committee of experts voted in favor of the vaccine, a week after it authorized the one from Pfizer and BioNTech.
The US began a massive vaccination campaign this Monday, a tremendous health and logistical challenge with which it is intended to control the pandemic, which has already left about 315,000 deceased in the country and for which the light is not yet seen at the end of the tunnel. That of Pfizer / BioNTech began to be inoculated in the two priority populations – the first-line health workers against the coronavirus and the elderly in nursing homes – and in personalities of the country to promote confidence in the vaccine. The vice president of the country, Mike Pence, received it this Friday in front of the cameras, in addition to his wife, Karen, and the director of public health of the White House, Jerome Adams. It was also worn by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, or Republican Senator Mitt Romney and the president-elect, Joe Biden, is expected to receive the prick in front of the cameras this Monday.
The approval of Moderna’s vaccine will allow the number of vaccinated to be extended until the end of the month to about 20 million Americans. The objective of the Donald Trump government authorities is that in May or June there are enough vaccinated to achieve ‘herd immunity’ and control the virus.
Massachussetts-based Moderna is a participant in Operation Warp Speed, the Trump Administration’s program for the development of the COVID vaccine. The laboratory received 4.1 billion dollars for the development, clinical trials and production of the vaccine, from which the Government has contracted 200 million doses (The Pfizer / BioNTech company only received money for the production of the vaccine, not for its development.)
The development of vaccines has been a great success in the final stretch of Trump’s term – he has called it a “medical miracle” – and the president celebrated it with a brief message on Twitter: “Congratulations, Moderna’s vaccine is now! available!”.
The two vaccines approved so far use the same technology, a novel messenger RNA procedure that had not been used until now and which has allowed for faster development. Clinical trials conducted with tens of thousands of volunteers have shown that in both cases the effectiveness is very high, around 95%. Moderna’s has been particularly effective in severe cases. Both also require the administration of two doses, with a difference of three or four weeks between each puncture.
The main advantage for Moderna is logistics. The Pfizer / BioNTech requires very low temperatures, -70 degrees, for its conservation, which is a great challenge for its transport and storage. In the case of the new approved vaccine, the temperature is lower, of -20 degrees, than can be achieved in a conventional freezer.
The US, as it did with Pfizer / BioNTech, will begin to distribute the Moderna doses immediately, and the first vaccinations will begin this Monday. Accelerating the production and shipment of millions of doses is a fundamental task for this laboratory, and a Spaniard is leading those efforts. Juan Andrés, Director of Technical Operations and Quality at Moderna, assured in a recent interview with ABC that «no shortcut has been taken that may compromise the safety and quality of the vaccine. ‘
Over the next week, six million people are expected to be vaccinated nationwide with Moderna’s vaccine. To accelerate its distribution among the population, the vaccine – like that of Pfizer / BioNTech and the rest of the candidates in development – began to be manufactured during the months of testing so that there would be millions of doses ready once approved by the authorities.
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