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Health officials react to Moderna vaccine announcement

Nurse Kathe Olmstead, right, gives volunteer Melissa Harting, of Harpersville, N.Y., an injection as the world's biggest study of a possible COVID-19 vaccine, developed by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc., gets underway Monday, July 27, 2020, in Binghamton, N.Y. (AP Photo/Hans Pennink)

Moderna Therapeutics says it has a COVID-19 vaccine that is 94.5% effective, higher than Pfizer’s announcement last week, that showed their vaccine was 90% effective.

“Here we have two vaccines with that type of efficacy and clean safety profiles. Thanks to President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed, we are in commercial manufacturing of them, as well as four others,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar live on Good Morning America.

He called it a great day for public health and a reason for everyone to celebrate.

Moderna, like Pfizer, is seeking FDA permission for emergency use.

“We hope to be able to deliver up to 20 million doses of the vaccine by the end of this year, this calendar year, in December, and then many tens of millions of doses per month during 2021,” said Moderna CEO Dr. Stephen Hoge.

He said the fact that there are two successful vaccines “should give us all hope that actually a vaccine is going to be able to stop this pandemic and hopefully get us back to our lives.”

“This has been an incredible teamwork (sic). I think none of us really thought we could get to this place in the last ten months,” said Moderna CEO Stephan Bancel. 

“I said I would be satisfied with 70, 75 percent efficacy, and that something like a 95 percent was really aspirational. We would like to have seen it, but it was aspirational. Well, our aspirations have been met,” said NIH Director Dr Anthony Fauci.

Dr. Fauci said their study paid special attention to ensuring its samples reflected the diversity of American people.

The Moderna version doesn’t have to be kept as cold. That will help with delivery and storage.

Both vaccines will require two shots, weeks apart. Azar said the government will work with states on distribution, and determining who should get the vaccine first.

It’s unknown how long the vaccine’s protection from COVID-19 will last; that’s still being studied in both vaccines.