COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Thursday evening, an FDA panel recommended the Emergency Use Authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine from Moderna.
While hundreds of health care workers across the state have received their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine, local experts explained the Moderna vaccine could provide more flexibility in distribution.
“We need to get people vaccinated. The more people get the vaccine, the less place the virus has to go,” said Dr. Nicholas Kman from Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center.
The FDA spent hours reviewing the latest vaccine trial data from Moderna, exactly one week to the day that the committee voted to recommend Pfizer’s vaccine or emergency use.
“If you’re on the vaccine advisory board or committee, that information on the vaccine has been shipped at least a week ago if not two weeks ago, so you’ve had a lot of time to review it,” said Dr. Frederic Bertley, the President, and CEO of COSI>
What those in line to receive the vaccine want to know is, what’s the difference?
“The Moderna can be stored at regular freezer temperatures, so anyone who has a freezer can store it,” Dr. Kman said.
For places like nursing homes and doctor’s offices will simplify storage and distribution down the road.
Moderna’s has a longer shelf-life, and ships already in liquid form, unlike Pfizer’s powder which requires re-constitution.
“It’s not a super-complicated step, but it is another step, and if we’re trying to get these vaccines out and accessible, the less steps the better,” said Dr. Bertley.
The other question that is ahead is how will providers determine who gets which vaccine?
“If we’re lucky enough that there’s enough out in society, maybe people will get to choose. But I don’t see that happening anytime soon,” Dr. Kman said.
Meaning doses will likely be administered purely on availability and second-dose continuity.
Ohio State said, as greater quantities of both start to come in, they will really have to determine how many first doses have been given, and how many of each vaccine they have on-hand.
The FDA has recommended against providers mixing vaccines.