US approves Moderna Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use

19 December 2020, 06:59

The US has become the first country to approve the Moderna vaccine
The US has become the first country to approve the Moderna vaccine. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The US has approved Moderna Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use, making it the first in the world to authorise a second vaccination against the deadly virus.

The move marks the world's first clearance for Moderna's shots, and the vaccine is very similar to one from Pfizer and Germany's BioNTech jab which is already being rolled out.

The two work "better than we almost dared to hope," National Institutes of Health director Dr Francis Collins said, adding: "Science is working here, science has done something amazing."

Early results of large, still unfinished studies show both the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna jabs appear safe and strongly protective although Moderna's is easier to handle since it does not need to be stored at ultra-frozen temperatures.

Read more: US Vice President Mike Pence receives Covid vaccine live on TV

A second vaccine represents a ray of hope amid despair as the virus continues to spread unabated even before holiday gatherings that are certain to further fuel the outbreak.

The pandemic has claimed more than 312,000 US lives and killed 1.7 million people worldwide.

New cases in the US are reaching around 216,000 per day on average, and deaths per day have hit all-time highs, surpassing 3,600 on Wednesday.

Vice President Mike Pence receives coronavirus vaccination live on TV

It comes the day after Vice President Mike Pence received a Pfizer vaccination on live TV.

The 61-year-old was administered his first jab alongside his wife Karen and US Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Friday morning in an office suite near the White House in Washington DC.

Three medical technicians from Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre, where President Donald Trump was admitted to after contracting Covid-19, issued the Pfizer/BioNTech shots to the trio.

Mr Pence said the speed at which the vaccine had been developed, manufactured and authorised was "a medical miracle".

Upon receiving his jab, the vice president, who like his wife did not flinch, said: "I didn't feel a thing, well done."

He added: "Hope is on the way.

"The American people can be confident - we have one and, perhaps within hours, two safe vaccines.

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Zelensky and Mohammed bin Salman

Zelensky meets Saudi crown prince to discuss peace deal and return of POWs

Union members protesting in Lagos

Government workers strike over Nigeria’s soaring inflation and economic woes

Crowds gathered to look for the money-filled briefcase, which was buried to create publicity for a concert.

'Treasure hunters' spark outrage by digging up protected sand dune to find buried money after influencers promote event

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuel Macron

Germany and Poland rule out troops for Ukraine as Kremlin warns of wider war

Poland farmers' protest

Thousands of farmers protest in Warsaw over EU’s environmental policies

Oleg Orlov

Moscow court jails human rights activist for 30 months for Ukraine war criticism

Pakistan Politics

Ex-Pakistan PM Imran Khan and wife plead not guilty in corruption case

Germany Red Army Faction

German left-wing militant arrested after more than 30 years on the run

Arsenal wished Olsson, who has won 47 caps for his country, a "full and speedy recovery" on social media.

Ex-Arsenal midfielder, 28, rushed to hospital with 'acute brain disease' after collapsing at home

Israel Palestinians

Israel ready to halt war during Ramadan if hostage deal reached, says Biden

Jens Stoltenberg

Nato chief says alliance has no plans to send troops to Ukraine

Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s father accused of punching photographer in the face in Sydney

Taylor Swift's father Scott Swift, 71, has been accused of assaulting a photographer

Taylor Swift's father Scott accused of ‘punching’ photographer ‘in the chops’

Australia Double Fatality

Police asked not to march at Sydney Mardi Gras parade after alleged murders

Couple Luke Davies and Jesse Baird had not been seen since Monday last week

Body of TV presenter Jesse Baird and boyfriend found ‘hidden under rocks’ in rural town 100 miles from Sydney

Sexual Misconduct Lawsuit Sean Combs

Music producer accuses Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs of sexual misconduct