Dec 15, 2020 - Health

America's rural outbreaks near their vaccine

A UPS driver delivers 2,900 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Galveston, Texas.

A UPS driver delivers 2,900 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine in Galveston, Texas. Photo: Mark Felix/AFP via Getty Images

America's rural and underserved areas are one step closer to an easily accessible vaccine, thanks to the FDA approaching emergency authorization for the Moderna vaccine.

Why it matters: "Moderna is the one that I would take out to rural areas and community health centers and private doctors' offices," Harvard public health professor Barry Bloom told the N.Y. Times.

  • Moderna's vaccine doesn't need to be kept as cold as the Pfizer vaccine, making it far easier to distribute in smaller quantities.

By the numbers: The FDA review confirmed Moderna's 94% efficacy rate in preventing COVID infections for people with two doses.

  • Moderna said it's prepared to immediately distribute 6 million doses, double what Pfizer began to roll out on Monday.

Between the lines: The FDA review showed Moderna's vaccine worked "equally well in white, Black and Hispanic volunteers, men and women, healthy participants and those at risk of severe Covid-19 with conditions like obesity and diabetes," the Times notes.

  • "For people 65 and older, the trial provided an estimated efficacy of 86.4 percent, lower than the overall estimate of 94.1 percent. But the apparent difference was not statistically significant. And 86.4 percent is still very high."

The bottom line: Moderna's vaccine is a triumph for the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed, which provided several billion in funding to help ramp up production."

  • Moderna has agreements with the U.S. to sell 200 million doses.
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