FDA releases new findings on Moderna’s vaccine; local experts weigh in

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INDIANAPOLIS — Now that Pfizer vaccinations are underway, we’re learning more about the Moderna vaccine.

On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration released a 14-page document of its findings.

Healthcare workers across the country were among the first to be vaccinated.

“It was a great moment in history for everyone who has those elevated risks. I did it for them,” said Indiana’s first recipient, Reed Stefan.

Initial findings show a more than 90% efficacy for Moderna. But there’s a higher efficacy for those between the ages of 18 and 65 as opposed to those 65 and older.

“To see a vaccine brought to a market this quickly with this level of effectiveness at 95%, just like the Pfizer vaccine, is nothing short of miraculous to be honest,” said Franciscan Health VP of Medical Affairs Dr. Christopher Doehring.

Dr. Doehring says there shouldn’t be any fear of getting vaccinated because the effectiveness shows within the data. In addition, there’s an increased amount of healthcare workers who are signing up to get it.

“The interest and the demand for getting in and getting scheduled has been incredibly high, higher than I think was even anticipated,” said Dr. Doehring.

Out of the 30,000 participants in Moderna’s trial, 13 died. Six were given the vaccine, the other seven were given a placebo. There were some pre-existing health conditions present, but it remains unclear if they died from the vaccination.

“These vaccines would not be approved for use on the general population if the FDA and the coronavirus task force and others looking at the data didn’t feel it was safe for us citizens or Hoosiers,” said Regenstrief Institute Director of Public Health Informatics Dr. Brian Dixon.

With the rollout of Pfizer’s vaccine, Dr. Dohering believes all Indiana healthcare workers can be vaccinated by the end of January. When it comes to the rest of the public, he advises talking to your doctor to see which one is best for you.

“Once you get the first one, the second one needs to be the same vaccine. So that will certainly be part of the planning and scheduling.”

Pfizer’s second dose would take place 21 days following the first. Moderna’s would take place 28 days after the first dose.

If the FDA approves Moderna’s vaccine for emergency use authorization, U.S. officials are prepared to distribute just under 6 million doses. That’s nearly double the 2.9 million Pfizer shipped this weekend.

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