The panel of independent experts has been reviewing the safety, efficacy and implications of recommending the second vaccine.
The favorable vote from the panel clears the path for Moderna’s vaccine to become the second approved for use in the United States. The FDA does not have to follow the advice of the panel, but it often does.
Moderna had the advantage of watching the FDA’s review of the Pfizer vaccine and came prepared to answer the anticipated questions.
The are key differences between their vaccine and Pfizer’s, Moderna said, but they will continue to closely monitor recipients for any sign of allergic reaction.
The company also addressed concerns about the MRNA in the vaccine and said it is quickly eliminated naturally by the body.
There was a significant discussion about the impact Pfizer’s authorization has already had on Moderna’s participants. More than 25% of Moderna’s volunteers are health care workers who are now eligible to get Pfizer’s vaccine.
Moderna has proposed using vaccine leftover from the clinical trial to vaccinate those in the placebo group to encourage them to remain in the study.
The ongoing data is important to monitor long-term safety and also to allow Moderna and Pfizer to apply for full approval from the FDA, expected in late-spring.