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By Miriam Raftery

Photo via U.S. Health and Human Services

December 19, 2020 (Washington D.C.) --  On Friday, the U.S.  Food and Drug Administration announced that it has issued an Emergency Use Authorization for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine.  This is the second vaccine to win approval, after the approval of a Pfizer vaccine earlier this month.

According to an announcement from the U.S. Health and Human Services agency, more than 5.9 million doses of the vaccine are allocated for jurisdictions to receive in the coming week.

Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, states, “On January 7, before China had reported even one death from the novel coronavirus or confirmed human-to-human transmission, NIH scientists and innovators at Moderna agreed to begin work on the vaccine that received FDA authorization today…Authorization of Moderna’s vaccine means we can accelerate the vaccination of frontline healthcare workers and Americans in long-term-care facilities, and, ultimately, bring a faster end to this pandemic.”

Acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller states, “The swift authorization of a second vaccine by the FDA is great news for the American people. The DoD, with the work of General Perna and Operation Warp Speed, stands ready to work with our public and private-sector partners to ensure doses reach Americans as soon as possible. Together, we will bring this pandemic to an end.”

The Moderna vaccine, like the Pfizer vaccine, is based on messenger-RNA. Both have been shown to be around 94-95% effective in widespread clinical trials. But the Moderna vaccine has a key advantage, since it can be stored at lower temperatures in standard refrigeration units, making it more practical for use in a wider range of locations.

Development of the Moderna vaccine included substantial funding donated by country music superstar Dolly Parton to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for COVID-19 research.

Parton told the BBC recently, "I just felt so proud to have been part of that little seed money that will hopefully grow into something great and help to heal this world,"adding, "I'm a very proud girl today to know I had anything at all to do with something that's going to help us through this crazy pandemic."

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