The United States had issued an emergency approval for the Moderna vaccine before Christmas. In contrast to the vaccine from Biontech, it does not need ultra-cold storage and could therefore be delivered more easily.
3.2 million cans for Austria
The EU has a total of 160 million cans of Moderna. For Austria, which is always entitled to around two percent, this means around 3.2 million cans. Austria expects 200,000 vaccine doses from Moderna for the first quarter and 690,000 for the second. A total of 890,000 cans for the first half of the year.
After the two approvals, this means that the binding delivery of 927,000 cans by Biontech and 200,000 by Moderna in the first quarter. According to Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz (ÖVP), more than 500,000 people could be vaccinated in the first quarter of the year with the vaccines from Biontech / Pfizer and Moderna.
At the beginning of the week, Moderna raised its production forecast for this year and now expects to be able to produce at least 600 million cans instead of 500 million. Moderna continues to invest and hire additional staff to potentially manufacture up to a billion cans.
Study: effectiveness at 94 percent
The company, founded in 2010, started the first CoV vaccine study in the USA in the spring. According to the final analysis of the approval-relevant study, the effectiveness of the Moderna vaccine is a good 94 percent. Biontech and Pfizer had estimated the effectiveness of their vaccine at 95 percent. Both vaccines are based on a new technology that uses messenger RNA (mRNA), which is supposed to convey information to human cells about the production of proteins and thus about the fight against pathogens.
The EMA experts had been evaluating Moderna’s data using the rolling review process since November. After that, the results of the studies are checked before an application for approval is submitted. The EMA emphasized that the process is much faster, but just as careful. In the case of a conditional approval, the manufacturer is obliged to transmit data to the EMA afterwards, for example on the long-term effect.
Criticism of vaccination strategies in Europe
Hundreds of thousands of EU citizens have now been vaccinated with the Biontech vaccine since it was approved on December 21. The bumpy start of the vaccination campaign had caused criticism as to why no more orders were placed. So far, the EU has secured 300 million doses of the Biontech vaccine.
Federal Chancellor Kurz saw the approval of the Moderna vaccine as “another important step in the fight against the pandemic.” And: “I now hope that AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford will quickly approve the vaccine in the EU in compliance with all scientific standards Britain and India recently granted approvals. ”The more vaccines one have available,“ the faster we can get out of the crisis, the fewer people die and the fewer jobs are destroyed ”.
The EMA’s recommendation for the approval of the market approval of a second vaccine is good news for the EU and for Austria – “Our forecasts have once again been met,” said Health Minister Rudolf Anschober (Greens) on Wednesday.