The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have given the green light to begin administering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to Americans age 18 and older. Inoculations using Moderna’s version of the vaccine could begin Monday morning.
Watch HHS and defense officials discuss vaccine distribution:
This is the second vaccine to combat the surging coronavirus approved first by the FDA and then the CDC this month.
This COVID-19 vaccine was developed by Moderna and the National Institutes of Health, and it can be stored at warmer temperatures than the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. Both vaccines have shown to be more than 90% effective.
The Moderna vaccine is already being shipped to health care facilities around the country, following a Friday night FDA emergency use authorization.
An advisory panel to the CDC voted Saturday to approve the emergency use of the Moderna vaccine, and director of the CDC, Robert Redfield, formally accepted their recommendation Sunday afternoon.
In a tweet, the CDC stated they had "accepted the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices' recommendation for use of the second authorized COVID19 vaccine."
CDC has accepted the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices’ recommendation for use of the second authorized #COVID19 vaccine. With 2 recommended vaccines, ACIP will recommend additional groups for vaccination.— CDC (@CDCgov) December 20, 2020
Current recommendations: https://t.co/cYJxH31I3F pic.twitter.com/qOQwyASpSG
The general in charge of distributing the COVID-19 vaccines, General Gus Perna, said Saturday vials of the Moderna vaccine were being packed and shipped.
"This week, in total, between Pfizer and Moderna, we have allocated 7.9 million doses of vaccine,” Perna said during an Operation Warp Speed press conference Saturday morning.
Perna joined other health experts in reminding Americans that just because the vaccine is being distributed, that doesn’t mean mask-wearing, social distancing and other precautions can be relaxed.
"Each shipment of vaccine is another few yards gained, but any good player or coach knows that you still need defense, along with offense, to win the game. I join our health professionals in urging Americans to stay diligent in their defense,” Perna said.
These initial doses of the vaccine are mostly going to frontline health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities, based on advice from the CDC’s advisory panel on immunizations. That panel will meet Sunday to discuss who should be next in line.