A Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted Thursday to endorse Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine and recommended that the agency move forward with emergency authorization.
In a 20-0 vote, with one abstention, the panel found that the safety and efficacy of the vaccine outweigh the risks for use in people age 18 and older, marking the penultimate step in the approval process.
FDA officials will now decide whether to grant emergency use authorization (EUA) based on the committee’s findings.
Last week the agency granted EUA to Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 16 and older.
If the process is similar to that of the already-approved Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine, the FDA could grant emergency use authorization for Moderna’s vaccine as early as Friday.
Earlier this week the agency confirmed findings that two shots of the Moderna vaccine are 94 percent effective at preventing illness.
Unlike the Pfizer vaccine, Moderna’s shots do not require extremely cold storage and come in smaller batches.
Upon agency approval, the U.S. could see 6 million doses of the vaccine distributed next week.