The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Friday approved for emergency use a second coronavirus vaccine produced by an American biotechnology company, Moderna.
This clears the way for millions more Americans to be inoculated next week in a country reeling under a second wave of the pandemic.
Moderna’s is the second vaccine to get FDA’s nod, and it came a week after the agency approved the first one produced by Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech.
Moderna had said its vaccine was found to be over 94 per cent effective in a clinical trial.
FDA’s Commissioner, Stephen Hahn, said with the second approval, the agency had taken a critical step in the fight the virus “that is causing vast numbers of hospitalisations and deaths” in the U.S.
Reacting to the news, Dr Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert, called the availability of the two vaccines “an historic moment.”
“This to me is a triumph of multi-year investment in biomedical research that culminated in something that was done in record time.
“Never before has anybody even imagined you would get vaccines to people in less than a year from the time that the sequence was made known,” Fauci said.
The U.S. Government has already bought 200 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, which is enough to innoculate 100 million people.
The Department of Defense had said it was ready to immediately ship 5.9 million dozes of the Moderna product to 3,000 locations nationwide once approved.