US biotech firm Moderna said the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunisation Practices (ACIP) has recommended the use of its COVID-19 vaccine in people 18 years of age and older under the emergency use authorisation issued by the US Food and Drug Administration.
Eleven members of the committee, which comprises independent health experts, voted in favour of the vaccine and 0 members voted against. The ACIP recommendation follows the December 1, 2020, ACIP recommendation for a Phase-1 rollout in which it said the first vaccine priority should be given to healthcare personnel treating patients and residents in long-term care facilities.
"Since we began this journey in January, our goal has always been to protect as many people as possible and this ACIP recommendation is another step forward in our quest to address this devastating pandemic with a vaccine," said Stephane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna.
He said healthcare workers have been on the front lines of the fight against the virus and are an inspiration. "We look forward to vaccinations of this important population starting this week," he said.
The ACIP advises the CDC on the populations and circumstances for which vaccines should be used. It based its recommendation on clinical evidence supporting the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, including data from Moderna's 30,000 participant Phase 3 study and ACIP's interim guidance on the allocation of initial vaccine doses.
The Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine was authorised for distribution and use under emergency use on December 18. Under Operation Warp Speed, the US Department of Defense (DoD), in partnership with HHS and the CDC, will manage allocation and distribution of the vaccine in the United States.
Around 20 million doses will be delivered to the US government by December. The company expects to have between 100 million and 125 million doses available globally in the first quarter of 2021, with 85-100 million of those available in the US.