CDC real-world study calls Moderna coronavirus vaccine ‘tremendously encouraging’

A “tremendously encouraging” real-world study shows the risk of getting infected with coronavirus was cut by 90% after people received two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, the CDC said Monday, as Moderna announced it shipped the 100 millionth dose of its vax.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-led study looked at the effectiveness of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines in preventing infections among nearly 4,000 health care personnel, first responders and other essential workers from December to March.

The study found that the risk of infection was reduced by 90% after individuals received the two recommended doses of the vax. The study also found that even after the first shot, the risk of infection decreased by 80% after two weeks. The findings are consistent with clinical trial data.

“This study is tremendously encouraging and complements other recent studies published in the New England Journal of Medicine and discussed by Dr. Fauci last week, among similar populations at a high risk of exposure to COVID-19 because of their occupations,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during the White House COVID-19 Response Team briefing Monday.

“These findings also underscore the importance of getting both of the recommended doses of the vaccine in order to get the greatest level of protection against COVID-19, especially as our concerns about variants escalate,” she added.

Meanwhile, Cambridge-based Moderna on Monday announced that it shipped the 100 millionth dose of its coronavirus vaccine to the U.S. government.

“This is a most heartening milestone,” Stephane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, said as the biotechnology company announced the shipment of its 100 millionth dose.

“I would like to thank the millions of people who have put their confidence in Moderna’s science and our COVID-19 vaccine,” she said. “We are encouraged by the fact that more than 67 million doses have been administered in the U.S. and we are humbled to know that we are helping address this worldwide pandemic with our vaccine.”

Moderna, a company pioneering messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutics and vaccines, developed an mRNA vaccine against COVID-19.

Moderna received emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration on Dec. 18. Monthly shipments to the feds in the year’s first quarter were 18 million doses in January, 26 million doses in February and 44 million doses to date in March.

Looking ahead, the company expects to ship 40 million to 50 million doses per month to the U.S. government to fulfill its commitments of the second 100 million doses by the end of May and the third 100 million doses by the end of July.

“We are working diligently to ramp up our supplies outside of the U.S. as well,” Bancel said.

Johnson & Johnson says it has agreed to provide up to 400 million doses of its single-dose COVID-19 vaccine to African countries, starting this summer.

Herald wire services contributed to this report.

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