CAMBRIDGE (CBS/AP) – A U.S. government advisory panel has endorsed a second COVID-19 vaccine. The action Thursday paves the way for the shot from Moderna to be added to the U.S. vaccination campaign.
The Food and Drug Administration is expected to act quickly to authorize the vaccine for emergency use. Pfizer’s vaccine got the go-ahead last week.
Moderna’s vaccine is easier to distribute than Pfizer’s because it doesn’t require special freezers. The federal government says it has nearly 5.9 million doses of the vaccine ready to be delivered next week.
Massachusetts is expected to get 120,000 doses of Moderna’s vaccine in the next few weeks.
“These doses will be distributed to hospitals, community health centers, and other large ambulatory care practices,” Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday.
Massachusetts is already getting 180,000 doses from Pfizer.
“The Pfizer vaccine has been prioritized for those facilities that have ultra-cold storage available to them, with Moderna being for folks who have freezers,” said Marylou Sudders, the state’s Secretary of Health and Human Services.
“Part of our Pfizer allocation is actually going to CVS and Walgreens for the nursing home distribution, because both CVS and Walgreens has ultra-cold storage capabilities. That then frees up, if you would, Moderna for broader distribution to smaller hospitals, large ambulatory surgical centers and practices, community health centers and the like.”
Moderna’s vaccine is the same type as Pfizer’s, made with the same technology. They aren’t made with the coronavirus itself, meaning there’s no chance anyone could catch it from the shots. Instead, the vaccine contains a piece of genetic code that trains the immune system to recognize the spiked protein on the surface of the virus.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)