IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Moderna's vaccine is highly effective, FDA says, clearing way for second vaccine

FDA documents show the vaccine is highly effective — and offers protection against infection.
/ Source: NBC News

Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine is 94% effective at preventing symptomatic illness and appears to prevent the spread of the virus as well, according to documents released Tuesday.

The findings set the Moderna vaccine up for FDA emergency use authorization by the end of this week, meaning Americans could soon have two highly effective COVID-19 vaccines.

The high efficacy was noted after two doses of the vaccine, given 28 days apart. This is about the same level of effectiveness as the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the first shots of which were given to health care workers on Monday.

But there is also evidence that just one dose may stop the virus's spread. A second document published on the FDA website shows asymptomatic infection was reduced by 63% after the first shot.

Still, it is expected that regulators will require two doses of the vaccine for maximum protection.

An independent advisory committee to the FDA, called the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee, will meet Thursday to decide whether to recommend the agency greenlight the Moderna vaccine. The meeting will largely mirror the one from last Thursday, when the panel of experts ultimately recommended the FDA authorize Pfizer's vaccine.

The vaccines from both drugmakers use similar technology.

It is widely anticipated that the Moderna vaccine's path will be similar to Pfizer's. An authorization could come as soon as this Friday. And officials with Operation Warp Speed are already planning for widespread distribution of the Moderna vaccine.

On Monday, Army Gen. Gustave Perna, the chief operating officer of Operation Warp Speed, said that, assuming the FDA does indeed authorize the Moderna vaccine, nearly 6 million doses will be shipped to 3,285 locations across the country.

This story was originally published on NBC News.