Coronavirus: Moderna on pace to produce even more vaccine than planned

January 4, 2021
Keith A. Reynolds

The drug maker revised its lower estimate for global production by 100 million doses.

Moderna believes it will produce more of its COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine in 2021 than it previously planned.

According to a news release, Moderna says it raised its lower end of global manufacture of the mRNA vaccine against COVID-19 from 500 million doses to 600 million doses. The company said that it also continues to invest and hire staff to build up to its goal of producing 1 billion doses by the end of 2021.

Additionally, Moderna expects to make about 100 million doses of the vaccine to be available in the U.S. by the end of the first quarter 2021, the release says.

Late last year, the Department of Health and human Services (HHS) announced the federal government will purchase an additional 100 million doses of its vaccine, BNT162b2. At least 70 million doses of the vaccine will be delivered to government designated locations by June 30, according to a news release.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Moderna’s vaccine, mRNA-1273, emergency use authorization on Dec. 18, as previously reported.

The vaccine showed an efficacy of 94.1 percent with 100 percent efficacy against severe COVID-19 and low frequency of serious adverse events, according to documents released by the FDA in advance of Dec. 17 Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting.

Pfizer’s EUA was granted late Dec. 11 after President Donald J. Trump’s staff ordered FDA Commissioner Steven M. Hahn, MD, to get the EUA approved on that day or start looking for a new job, according to a report from The New York Times.

It is unclear if the same pressure campaign was used for the Moderna vaccine.

The public seems ready for a vaccine to finally bring the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic to an end as a recent survey from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 71 percent of respondents say they would definitely or probably get a COVID-19 vaccine if it was deemed safe by scientists and was available for free on demand. This is up from 63 percent reported in a September survey and is an increase across racial and ethnic groups, as well as among Democrats and Republicans.