Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped. AP Photo/Paul Sancya, Pool

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday granted an emergency use authorization for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the biotech firm Moderna and the US National Institutes of Health.

The two-shot Moderna/NIH vaccine was approximately 94.5% effective at preventing COVID-19 in a large clinical trial.

The FDA last week issued the same authorization for the vaccine created by Pfizer and BioNTech, which had a similar rate of success during trials but is harder to store and transport than the Moderna vaccine.

Photos Sunday showed the vaccine being packed for shipment in Moderna’s distribution facility in Olive Branch, Mississippi, headed for distribution across the US.

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The US Food and Drug Administration on Friday issued an emergency use authorization for Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, just about a week after it gave the same authorization for a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. 

The Moderna vaccine was designed in just two days in January 2020 using messenger RNA (mRNA) technology. In clinical trials, the vaccine was found to be approximately 94.5% effective in protecting people against COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. 

The vaccine comes at a time when the US is dealing with a surge in COVID-19 cases. The disease has led to more than 316,000 deaths so far in the US this year, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Globally, it’s killed more than 1.6 million people.

While the vaccine will not bring an end to the ongoing surge, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends it first be distributed among healthcare workers and among people living in long-term care facilities.

On Sunday, Vivek Murthy, who President-elect Joe Biden intends to nominate as US surgeon general, said the current timeline for coronavirus vaccine distribution was optimistic, adding vaccines may not widely be available until “mid-summer” or “early fall” 2021.

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Workers at a distribution center in Olive Branch, Mississippi, prepared the shipment of the Moderna vaccine supply Sunday.

A worker at McKesson’s Olive Branch, Miss. distribution center prepares packed and sealed cooler boxes containing Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses for shipment. Business Wire

The US Food and Drug Administration authorized Moderna’s vaccine for emergency use on Friday.

A worker inside the walk-in freezer at McKesson’s Olive Branch, Miss. distribution center adds cold packs into a cooler box of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine doses to maintain their temperature requirements during shipping. Business Wire

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Moderna’s vaccine, like Pfizer’s vaccine, requires two doses to be effective.

Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped. AP Photo/Paul Sancya, Pool

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Moderna’s vaccine reported a 94% efficacy rate in its late-stage clinical trial.

Workers pack boxes with the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for shipping. AP Photo/Paul Sancya, Pool

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One data chart showed Moderna’s vaccine appeared to protect people from infection around two weeks after the first dose, Business Insider’s Hilary Brueck reported.

A worker gives a thumbs up while transporting boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to the loading dock for shipping. AP Photo/Paul Sancya, Pool

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Moderna was approved a week after the FDA authorized Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine for emergency use.

A worker inside the walk-in freezer finishes packing doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Business Wire

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The US will ship around 8 million doses throughout this upcoming week.

Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the McKesson distribution center. AP Photo/Paul Sancya, Pool

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Moderna plans to deliver 20 million doses by the year’s end, Business Insider’s Grace Dean reported.

A worker carries a box containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. AP Photo/Paul Sancya, Pool

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Operation Warp Speed initially planned to deliver vaccines to 20 million Americans before 2021, Warp Speed’s co-leader said this will stretch until the first week of next month, Business Insider’s Andrew Dunn reported.

A worker packs boxes of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine for shipping. AP Photo/Paul Sancya, Pool

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Vivek Murthy, who President-elect Joe Biden intends to nominate as US surgeon general, said Sunday the vaccine may not be widely available until summer or fall 2021.

Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are loaded into a truck for shipping at the McKesson distribution center. AP Photo/Paul Sancya, Pool

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Distribution plans for COVID-19 vaccines are up to states, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recommended they first go to healthcare workers and people living in long-term care facilities.

Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are moved to the loading dock for shipping at the McKesson distribution center. AP Photo/Paul Sancya, Pool

Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

FedEx will transport the supply of Moderna coronavirus vaccines nationwide.

Boxes containing the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are loaded into a truck for shipping at the McKesson distribution center. AP Photo/Paul Sancya, Pool

Source: The Associated Press

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