Moderna to distribute 6 million COVID-19 vaccines by Friday

Once approved, distribution of the Moderna double-dose vaccine begins to 3,285 sites across the nation.

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More than 6 million doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine will be ready to ship by Friday.

The FDA’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee is scheduled to review the Moderna vaccine on Thursday. It is expected to be approved the following day.

The Moderna headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts is shown. More than 6 million doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine will be ready to ship by Friday. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Once approved, medical supply company McKesson will handle logistics to distribute the vaccine to 3,285 sites across the country.

The initial distribution amount of the Moderna vaccine is twice as much as the first doses of Pfizer’s, which started being injected into frontline workers Monday.

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States are working with pharmacies like CVS Health and Walgreens to make the vaccines available. The Moderna vaccine has two doses that have to be administered four weeks apart. Pfizer’s has a three-week period between its two injections.

The CDC has provided states with an outline that recommends prioritizing health-care workers and nursing homes first, but states may distribute the vaccine as they see fit.

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Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who heads Operation Warp Speed, the vaccine council created by President Donald Trump‘s administration, said Monday that 100 million Americans could be fully vaccinated by the end of February 2021.

Both Moderna and Pfizer’s vaccines are meant to be stored under refrigeration. However, the Moderna vaccine has a longer shelf life of 30 days and will last 12 hours at room temperature.

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“This vaccine presents the opportunity of using doctors’ offices, clinics and pharmacies as vaccination sites,” Dr. William Schaffner told The New York Times. He added that if both vaccines become publicly available, he wouldn’t be surprised if vaccination sites requested the Moderna version.

Moderna plans to begin clinical trials on adolescents in the coming months.

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Both vaccines are said to have mild side effects, including sore arms, fatigue, fever, plus joint and muscle aches that can last up to two days.

Over 30,000 people participated in Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine trial, including 37 percent who were people of color.

The company plans to produce up to one billion doses of its vaccine by 2021.

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