Moderna vaccine expected to gain approval from FDA as Alabama’s Pfizer supply cut short


BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The approval of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine with an emergency use authorization is expected to be granted in the coming days.

This comes as the FDA’s vaccine panel showed overwhelming support for the distribution of the vaccine. Now Moderna is waiting on the FDA and CDC to authorize it during the final phases.

For many across the nation, there is much debate regarding if people should take the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. Jefferson County Health Department Dr. Wesley Willieford says both Pfizer’s and Moderna’s vaccines offer similar protection levels for the public, so he says whichever vaccine is easiest to get should be taken.

There are big differences from a medical standpoint regarding Moderna’s vaccine being much easier to store for healthcare facilities. You must also be 16 years or older to take Pfizer’s vaccine and Moderna will require you to be 18 years or older.

Dr. Willieford says with more than 600,000 people living in Jefferson County he does anticipate it being difficult to vaccinate the public in a short period of time.

“Locally as we get vaccines, the goal here at the Health Department is going to be trying to fill in gaps where people may not have access to care. So that’s where we are really hoping to come in and really help out the community. So places that are not well covered that’s where we want to be,” Dr. Willieford said.

This comes on the heels of the Alabama Department of Public Health announcing its second shipment of the Pfizer vaccine was cut by about 20,000 doses.

During the past several weeks, the Jefferson County Health Department has ramped up its hiring efforts in preparation for when they can begin administering the vaccine to the community.

The Moderna vaccine is approved in its final stages could begin distribution in the U.S next week.

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