Moderna will make MORE doses of its COVID-19 vaccine this year: Firm raises production goal from 500 to 600 million doses by the end of 2021 – and hopes to hit 1 billion
- On Monday, Moderna Inc said it will produce a minimum of 600 million coronavirus vaccine doses in 2021
- This is 20% higher that the 500 million doses the firm said it would be able to manufacture by year’s end
- So far, Moderna has distributed 18 million doses of the 200 million it has promised the federal government
- The vaccine rollout in the U.S. has been very slow, with just 4.2 million people receiving shots, short of the 20 million the Trump administration hoped for
Moderna Inc announced on Monday that it will be increasing production of its coronavirus vaccine by 20 percent.
The biotechnology company said it plans to manufacture a minimum of 600 million doses – up from the originally projected 500 million – by the end of 2021.
The Massachusetts-based firm says it is investing and hiring in hopes it may be able to produce as many as one billion doses by year’s end.
It comes as the COVID-19 vaccination effort in the U.S. has lagged, with clinicians inoculating just 4.2 million people – a figure lower than officials had aimed for.
On Monday, Moderna Inc said it will produce a minimum of 600 million coronavirus vaccine doses in 2021, 20% higher than the 500 million originally projected. Pictured: An employee shows the Moderna coronavirus vaccine at Northwell Health’s Long Island Jewish Valley Stream hospital in New York, December 21
So far, Moderna has distributed 18 million doses of the 200 million it has promised the federal government. Pictured: Registered nurse Amanda Wright (lef_, gives a shot of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to registered nurse Paul Smith at Augusta University in Augusta, Georgia, December 30
On December 18, Moderna received emergency use authorization (EUA) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its COVID-19 vaccine for adults aged 18 and older.
Since then, the company says it has distributed approximately 18 million doses of the 200 million it has promised the federal government.
Additional doses have also been supplied to the Canadian government after the jab was authorized on December 23.
‘Our effectiveness in providing early supply to the U.S. and Canadian governments and our ability to increase baseline production estimates for 2021 are both signals that our scale up of mRNA vaccine production is a success,’ said Juan Andres, Chief Technical Operations and Quality Officer at Moderna, in a statement.
‘I want to thank the many private and government collaborators, contractors and the hundreds of Moderna staff who have been working thoughtfully and tirelessly to accomplish this.’
Moderna’s vaccine was developed in partnership with the National Institutes of Health.
It uses part of the pathogen’s genetic code called messenger RNA, or mRNA, to get the body to recognize the coronavirus and attack it if a person becomes infected.
The candidate, called mRNA-1273, works by tricking the body into producing some of the viral proteins, which the immune system then recognizes and builds a defensive response against.
When given in two doses four weeks apart, the vaccine was found to be 94.1 percent effect at preventing COVID-19 and 100 percent effective at preventing severe disease in clinical trial data.
Officials of Operation Warp Speed – the government’s plan to fast-track the production of vaccine doses in the US by 2021 – had said last month that around six million doses would be distributed following the EUA.
But the rollout has been much slower than expected with only 4.2 million people across the U.S. receiving their first dose of either Pfizer or Moderna’s vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That figure is well short of the 20 million people the Trump administration had hoped to immunized by New Year’s Eve.
However, on Monday, Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar claimed the administration’s goal was have to 20 million first doses available, directly contradicting comments made by White House officials.
‘What we said our goal was was actually to have 20 million first doses available in the month of December. Those are available,’ he told ABC’s Good Morning America.
‘But there’s a lag between doses being available then being orders by the provider and the states, shipping and then eventual vaccination.’
Axar defended the distribution and said he was actually surprised ‘surprised there haven’t been more glitches’ since the rollout began last month.
‘This is just – it’s normal,’ he told host Robin Roberts.
‘This is the largest vaccination campaign in the history of the United States. I’m actually surprised there haven’t been more glitches that we’ve seen so far.’