Vaccine advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration voted easily and quickly to recommend that the agency give emergency use authorization to Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine. CNN reports: The Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) voted 20-0 with one abstention to recommend EUA for the Moderna vaccine, which is very similar in design, composition, safety and efficacy to Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine. That was the only question facing the committee — whether to recommend EUA. “There’s no doubt in my mind that the data — it looks like the benefits outweigh the risks, from what I’ve seen,” committee member Dr. Steven Pergam, of the University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, said before the vote.
That did not, however, stop the collection of academics, physicians, public health specialists and others from getting into a lengthy discussion about whether Moderna should offer the vaccine to people who got saline shots — something that might have the effect of reducing long-term data on how well and safely the vaccine protects people from infection. “Academics have a way of getting involved in details, and what we have done for the last eight or nine hours was to go over the details,” Dr. Arnold Monto, an infectious disease specialist and professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan, who chairs the panel, said after the vote. He noted the vote this time was more one-sided than last week’s vote to recommend Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine, which came down 17 for, 4 against, with one abstention. Similar to Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine, the Moderna vaccine uses messenger RNA or mRNA that prompts the body to produce compounds that look like the outside of the coronavirus, causing an immune response that protects against infection. The report notes that “Each vaccine is about 95% effective in preventing symptomatic illness, with few side effects.”
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