FDA advisory panel endorses Moderna vax

Dec. 18, 2020

The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) has overwhelmingly supported the FDA granting Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for Moderna's COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, mRNA-1273.

VRBPAC's decision was adopted 20-0 with one abstention. Dr. Michael Kurilla, an infectious diseases expert with the National Institutes of Health, was the only member to not vote yes. He said he decided to abstain because he was “uncomfortable” making a blanket endorsement of the vaccine for everyone age 18 and older.

The committee decision came exactly one week after experts voted to recommend Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine for an emergency use authorization. Last week, VRBPAC voted 17 to 4 in support of the FDA granting EUA for the companies’ COVID-19 mRNA vaccine, BNT162b2 and the FDA awarded the EUA the next day.

In terms of the Moderna vaccine, FDA head Dr. Stephen Hahn promised the agency would work "rapidly" toward finalization and issuance of an EUA. Pending the FDA's ok, the U.S. plans to ship just under 6 million doses next week, as part of the Operation Warp Speed vaccine project.

Facing concerns that the U.S.’s supply of vaccines could quickly dry up, the government recently doubled its initial order with Moderna and has agreed to purchase 100 million more doses of its vaccine for a total of $3.2 billion. The new, expanded contract will reportedly ensure that the U.S. has a steady stream of shots through June 2021.

Read the Moderna press release