Pharmaceutical company Moderna this morning announced it intends to apply today to the US Food and Drug Administration for authorization of its Covid-19 vaccine.
That means there will be at least two vaccine candidates seeking FDA approval: Earlier this month, Pfizer and BioNTech submitted for emergency use authorization for their coronavirus candidate.
Here's where things stand on the race to develop and distribute a coronavirus vaccine:
- When a vaccine could be approved: The FDA plans to make a decision about authorizing Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine within a few weeks of a key meeting scheduled for Dec. 10, an agency official said last week.
- Who might get a vaccine first: Advisers to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have called an emergency meeting for tomorrow to vote on who they recommend should be the first to get a coronavirus vaccine once one is authorized. The CDC has already recommended that the first group — designated as 1a — should include frontline health providers and support personnel. The 1a group likely should also include residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, who have been badly hit by the pandemic, the CDC has said.
- How many doses there could be: The federal government has said 40 million coronavirus vaccine doses could be available by the end of December. Dr. Larry Corey of the University of Washington, who is heading up coronavirus vaccine clinical trials in the US, has said if both Pfizer and Moderna get vaccines authorized, they could supply 50 million more doses in January and 60 million more in February and March.
- But remember: There are not going to be enough vaccines for everyone at first, so choices have to be made. The CDC estimates there are 21 million healthcare personnel, 87 million essential workers, 100 million adults with high-risk medical conditions and 53 million others 65 and older.