Moderna announced on Monday morning that it would seek emergency approval for its coronavirus vaccine from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The announcement came after Moderna confirmed that its vaccine is 94-percent effective against coronavirus. If approved, the Moderna vaccine could be available to certain segments of the population within two weeks. Pfizer and BioNTech also applied for emergency authorization for their jointly-developed vaccine on November 20.
“We believe that our vaccine will provide a new and powerful tool that may change the course of this pandemic and help prevent severe disease, hospitalizations and death,” Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a statement. Moderna stocks jumped 12 percent upon the announcement.
The vaccines employ technology never before used on such a wide scale, utilizing mRNA, a molecular protein messenger, to build immunity to coronavirus.
With 13,447,300 confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic, over 4 percent of the U.S. population has contracted the illness. Americans are currently contending with an outbreak stretching across the Midwest from Ohio through Montana.
The Trump administration has allocated vaccine doses to various states based on their population levels, and has given state governments the final say in how to distribute vaccines. The nation’s 21 million health care workers are expected to receive the first vaccine doses, while states will need to determine which at-risk populations are subsequently vaccinated.
“I don’t expect the states to make uniform decisions,” Moncef Slaoui, head of vaccine development effort Operation Warp Speed, told Politico on Monday. “Some may prefer long-term care facilities or the elderly, while others may prioritize their health care workers. It would be wrong to immunize 18-year-olds first. I hope no one does that. But otherwise it’s shades of gray.”