Moderna begins distributing second vaccine

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The American biotech company Moderna Inc. has begun distributing its COVID-19 vaccine to more than 3,700 US locations starting on Sunday, US Army General Gustave Perna said on Saturday.

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday authorised the vaccine, named mRNA-1273, for emergency use across the country. It is the second COVID-19 vaccine approved for use in the US after the Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine.

Perna said Moderna has moved vaccines from its manufacturing sites to distribution locations, and added that the vaccine will reach healthcare providers by as early as Monday.

“[The] Moderna vaccine can be shipped and stored at standard freezer temperatures and is packed in containers of 100 doses each”, he said, adding that this gives US states greater “flexibility to support hard-to-reach, small and more rural areas”.

US officials are currently trying to build confidence in the vaccines, due to fears in some communities. Vice president Mike Pence publicly received a shot on Friday, and US president-elect Joe Biden is expected to be vaccinated on Monday.

The US has so far recorded more than 17.5 million coronavirus infections and over 314,000 deaths – the highest totals in the world.

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