Two separate coronavirus vaccine candidates have proven effective in late-stage clinical trials. But when will they become publicly available?
Moderna on Monday announced that its coronavirus vaccine candidate showed 94.5% effectiveness in its Phase 3 clinical trial, following similar news from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer a week ago when the company announced its coronavirus vaccine candidate showed 90% efficacy, also in Phase 3.
Both vaccines require approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before they can be distributed for widespread use. If the FDA allows emergency use of Moderna’s or Pfizer’s candidate, there will be limited, rationed supplies before the end of the year.
Both vaccines require people to get two shots, several weeks apart. U.S. officials said they hope to have about 20 million Moderna doses and another 20 million doses of the vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech to use in late December.
Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel reiterated this timeline during an appearance on Fox Business’ "Mornings with Maria" on Monday, saying he is hopeful to see the vaccine get emergency approval by December. Then, by the first quarter of 2021, the vaccine could have “full approval where, you know, every American who wants a vaccine that is of 18 years of age [or older] can get access to a vaccine,” he told host Maria Bartiromo.
"You can give a prime dose, the first dose to 20 million people," Bancel added. "By the time they need their boost in January, we’ll have more vaccine made."
If further trials show that the vaccine is safe for students, young people who are vaccinated next summer could return to a "normal lifestyle" for the fall 2021 school year, he continued.
Moderna’s news was applauded by some of the country’s top health officials, including Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar.
"More good news today from #OperationWarpSpeed: The Moderna/NIH vaccine candidate is now the second vaccine to show the potential for very high efficacy in Phase 3 trials," Azar wrote on Twitter. "Operation Warp Speed has provided about $2 billion in funding and operational support for development, manufacturing, and eventual potential delivery of the Moderna/NIH vaccine."
Meanwhile, Dr. Anthony Fauci, America’s top infectious disease expert, said the results are “truly striking.”
Fox Business’s Evie Fordham and the Associated Press contributed to this report.