Moderna COVID-19 vaccine proven to be 94.5% effective

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Courtesy of Ft.com

Moderna is estimating to begin vaccine distribution by the end of 2020.

On Monday, Nov. 16, Moderna announced that they had finished developing a vaccine that is 94.5% effective in combating COVID-19. 

“These are obviously very exciting results. It’s just as good as it gets – 94.5% is truly outstanding,” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States’ lead infectious disease doctor. 

These results were discovered by injecting 15,000 patients with placebo, a drug with no effect, and another 15,000 patients with the vaccine. In the following few months, 90 individuals who had been given placebo ended up testing positive for COVID-19, with 11 of them developing severe symptoms. Out of the 15,000 who were given the vaccine, only five of the patients contracted COVID-19, and none were extreme cases. 

A primary concern of developing the vaccine in such a short amount of time was the potential side effects in patients. However, this concern was quickly put to rest after vaccine-users reported only mild headaches or body aches for short periods of time. 

“I definitely would get [the vaccine]. I’ve been trying to limit who I’ve been seeing to protect my family, but I can’t wait until we are back to normal. I think the vaccine is the first step for this, especially as I approach college in the fall,” said Audrey Giltner, senior. 

Earlier in the week, Pfizer also announced that they had developed a vaccine that was proven to be 90% effective. This vaccine, however, must be stored and transported at extremely low temperatures in order to successfully treat patients. This drawback makes the mass distribution of the vaccine across the nation very difficult, considering that most doctors offices and pharmacies do not own cold enough freezers. 

The Moderna vaccine, however, is stored in a slightly warmer environment that can be provided by the freezers that most doctors offices and pharmacies already own. Along with this, the Moderna vaccine can be transported much more efficiently.

Scientist Xinhua Yan works in the lab at Moderna. Vaccine can be transported with supplies that doctors and pharmacies already own. (Courtesy of David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Fauci expects that the first vaccinations will be distributed towards the end of December to certain groups of people. This would include first responders, the elderly, and people with underlying health conditions. The general population will follow, getting their vaccinations starting in April of 2021, and lasting until around June or July of 2021. 

“When the vaccine is available to me, I will definitely be getting it because it will reduce the risk of me getting COVID-19 and spreading it to others,” said Na’il Hanif, freshman.

The vaccine was tested on a wide range of people in order to further ensure its effectiveness. Fauci included that 37% of people involved in the test were either senior citizens or from a racial or ethnic minority background.

Moderna has agreed to provide 100 million vaccinations to the United States through their $1.525 billion contract. 

Although people should not throw away their masks or stop following guidelines just yet, a huge step in the right direction has been made regarding the pandemic and a resolution.