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Independent Study of Moderna's COVID-19 Trial Results Shows No Serious Illness, Mild Side Effects

January 06, 2021

A review of phase 3 trial results of Moderna's COVD-19 vaccine showed no cases of severe illness among the participants and no safety concerns, according to results published recently in The New England Journal of Medicine. The vaccine, which received an emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration Dec. 18, was 94.1 percent effective in preventing symptoms of the virus. Like the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine currently available, the Moderna vaccine uses mRNA technology containing  part of the virus’ genetic information that helps the body’s cells produce a viral protein that stops COVID-19. These are the first mRNA vaccine approved for any disease. (For a comparison of the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, click here.) "Having two different brands of vaccine, and with some different storage capabilities is really going to help us accelerate our vaccinations of our healthcare providers," says Eric Arlia, Hartford HealthCare’s System Director of Pharmacy, "and then put us in a great position to be able to vaccinate patients in the near future." The trials, which included more than 30,000 people at 99 U.S. sites, produced 196 cases of symptomatic COVID-19 at least 14 days after participants received their second shot. Of those cases, 185 were in the placebo group that received only a saline injection and 11 in the vaccine group. The 30 participants who developed severe COVID-19, including one death attributed to COVID-19, were in the placebo group. A secondary analysis revealed a 95.2 percent vaccine efficiency, according to the peer-reviewed study in The New England Journal of Medicine. Close to half of those who received the vaccine experienced mild side effects after the second dose, including headache, fatigue, joint pain and muscle aches.