split flags of europe and uk with a covid 19 vaccine syringe in the foreground

COVID-19 Update – Moderna Inc. EUA Approved as a New Strain Surfaces in the UK

The Latest

Following last Thursday’s review by FDA advisors, the FDA issued Moderna Inc. with a EUA for distribution and use across the U.S.

The EUA allows the vaccination of 18-year-olds and older with Moderna Inc.’s mRNA vaccine.

Late last week, the U.S government and the markets had anticipated the EUA approval. 20 million doses are due for the U.S before the end of the year.

As new COVID-19 cases continue to surge across the U.S, Operation Warp Speed will need to prove decisive in the fight against the pandemic.

What’s next?

Following the FDA approval, Moderna Inc. expects to deliver doses of the vaccine to healthcare centers from Monday.

A reported 3,700 sites are to begin vaccinations at the start of the week. The number of doses is expected to be far higher than those that Pfizer Inc. is in the process of circulating.

This is assuming that there are no supply chain issues that could undermine the production of 20 million doses by year-end. Over the weekend, there were reports that certain states had seen their allocation of the Moderna Inc. vaccine cut significantly…

Over the weekend, Moderna Inc. began to deliver vaccine doses under guard and in secure refrigeration.

Later today, the CDC is also set to decide on the next priority group beyond phase 1c to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The CDC’s phase sequence for the highest priority recipients of COVID-19 vaccines was as follows:

Phase 1a: Healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents.

Phase 1b: Essential workers including the education sector, food & agriculture, utilities, police, firefighters, correction officers, transportation.

Phase 1c: Adults with high-risk medical conditions and adults of the age of 65 years plus.

In terms of numbers, healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents total around 24 million. This would require a total of 48 million doses for phase 1a alone.

This means that, while the CDC will decide on priority groups beyond phase 1c, new groups will need to wait well into the New Year based on vaccine delivery numbers.

The Latest COVID-19 Numbers

At the time of writing, the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases stood at 76,728,477. The total number of U.S cases has risen to 18,078,925, with the total number of U.S related deaths rising to 323,404.

Things also remain dire in other parts of the world, with new cases continue to spike in the winter months.

Of greater concern, however, will be news of a new coronavirus strain in the UK.

Over the weekend, news hit the wires of a new and more virulent strain of the virus. While more contagious, however, experts don’t consider the new strain to be more fatal at present.

Australia, Denmark, the Netherlands, and the UK have reported the mutation. While of concern, there is also no evidence that the new strain is resilient to the newly approved COVID-19 vaccines.

In the days ahead, the key will be for the WHO and the UK to continue to confirm the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines against the new strain. Any resilience to the recently approved vaccines and the COVID-19 pandemic could cause global panic and another shutdown of borders.