Authorization of Moderna vaccine expands access in battle against COVID-19

Date: Dec 18 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Media Relations 

Statement from APHA Executive Director George C. Benjamin, MD

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to authorize Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use provides a needed boost to expand vaccine access to more Americans.

Moderna's vaccine is reportedly more than 94% effective, and unlike Pfizer's vaccine, which must be shipped and stored at ultra-cold temperatures, can be kept at standard freezer temperatures. As with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, the Moderna vaccine is a messenger RNA, or mRNA vaccine. Instead of using a weakened form of the virus to trigger an immune response, such mRNA vaccines teach our bodies how to produce a protein to trigger the production of antibodies that protect us from getting sick if we are exposed to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Like the Pfizer vaccine, the Moderna vaccine has undergone rigorous testing for safety and effectiveness. As we add this and potentially other vaccines into our toolbox in the fight against COVID-19, we must understand that many are wary. To address these concerns, we need to acknowledge historical and current reasons for mistrust and continue to be transparent in all aspects of the vaccination program.

We must also work hard to build public trust and dispel misinformation around vaccines, especially among people in minority communities. Vaccine hesitancy is a real barrier to getting shots in the arms as one component of overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic. Let’s work together to make sure everyone is well-informed.

It is important to reiterate the reality that even as we widely deploy vaccines, this virus will continue to spread, and many more lives will be lost. So we must remain diligent in following public health guidance to wear masks, keep our distance and wash our hands often to keep ourselves, our loved ones and our communities safe.”

To speak to Dr. Benjamin, email APHA media relations or call Bob Ensinger at 202-777-2501.

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The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at www.apha.org.