WASHINGTON (AP) — A government advisory panel endorsed a second COVID-19 vaccine Thursday, paving the way for the shot to be added to the U.S. vaccination campaign.
The Food and Drug Administration is expected to follow the recommendation and quickly OK the vaccine from Moderna and the National Institutes of Health. The FDA advisers, in a 20-0 vote, agreed the benefits of the vaccine outweighed the risks for those 18 years old and up.
Once emergency use authorization is granted, Moderna will begin shipping millions of doses, earmarked for health workers and nursing home residents, to boost the largest vaccination effort in U.S. history.
The campaign kicked off earlier this week with the first vaccine OK’d in the U.S., developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Moderna’s shot showed similarly strong effectiveness, providing 94% protection against COVID-19 in the company’s ongoing study of 30,000 people.
After seven hours of debate over technical details of the company’s study and follow-up plans, nearly all panelists backed making the vaccine available to help fight the pandemic. One panel member abstained.