Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has a 94.5 percent effective rate

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Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has been shown to be nearly 95% effective in protection against the coronavirus, according to early trial data. That makes it the second coronavirus vaccine from the U.S. to have a surprisingly high rate of protection against the virus.

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High success rate for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine

The Data Safety and Monitoring Board revealed the 94.5% effective rate for the COVID-19 vaccine to Moderna on Sunday. The board is an independent panel that analyzed the data from the vaccine's clinical trial.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease doctor in the U.S., called Modern's results "very exciting" and "outstanding," adding that vaccinations could start in the second half of December. High-risk groups such as healthcare workers, those with underlying medical conditions and the elderly will be the first to receive the vaccine, and then the rest of the population could follow toward the end of April into May, June and July.

Moderna's clinical trial gave 15,000 people a placebo, which was a shot of saline that doesn't have any effect. In several months, 90 of them came down with the coronavirus, and 11 had severe cases of the disease. About 15,000 others received the vaccine, and only five of them came down with COVID-19. None of those five people had severe symptoms.

More details on the vaccine

Moderna said its COVID-19 vaccine doesn't have any serious side effects. According to CNN, a small percentage of those who received the injection did have symptoms like headaches and body aches. The company will apply for authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after collecting more safety data this month.

Pfizer's vaccine had about a 90% effective rate against COVID-19. Moderna's and Pfizer's vaccines have had similar results because they both use a new technique to deliver it. They deliver messenger RNA, also known as mRNA, which CNN describes as "a genetic recipe for making the spikes that sit atop the coronavirus."

After the vaccine is injected, the person's immune system manufactures antibodies to those spikes. If someone who received the injection is later exposed to COVID-19, those antibodies provide protection against it. Pfizer's and Moderna's COVID-19 vaccines are the first on the market to use mRNA.

Advantages of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine

One benefit of Moderna's vaccine over Pfizer's is that it only needs to be kept at -20 degrees Celsius, which is in line with the temperature other vaccines are held at. However, Pfizer's vaccine must be stored at -75 degrees Celsius, which will not work for doctor's offices and pharmacies because their freezers don't go that low.

Moderna's vaccine can also be kept in the refrigerator for 30 days, while Pfizer's only lasts five days.