By: Michelle Layton
A panel of outside advisors to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday endorsed emergency use of Moderna Inc’s coronavirus vaccine, virtually assuring a second option for protecting against COVID-19. The committee voted 20-0 with one abstention that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh its risks in people aged 18 and older, one week after the same panel backed a similar vaccine from Pfizer Inc and German partner BioNTech SE, leading to emergency use authorization a day later.
The FDA reviewers said a two-dose regimen of Moderna’s vaccine was highly effective in preventing confirmed cases of COVID-19 and did not raise any specific issues with using the vaccine in adults over the age of 18. Moderna’s is the second vaccine the FDA has considered, behind Pfizer’s.
Kerr County leaders addressed issues related to the new vaccine at a Thursday Community Update, and Dr. Mack Blanton felt confident that Peterson Regional Medical Center will be receiving vials of Moderna’s vaccine within 7 to 10 days. Moderna’s vaccine has been described as being more ‘flexible’ because it can be stored at -20 degrees Celsius for up to 30 days. PRMC is anticipating receiving doses of the Pfizer vaccine by the end of January.
Blanton stressed to the public that studies conducted showed no serious adverse events after having received the shots, and both vaccines demonstrated a 95% efficacy rate. Healthcare workers and frontline workers will be the first recipients of the available vaccines, followed by long-term care residents and workers.
The CDC advises everyone to follow their recommended guidelines during the upcoming holiday season and continue wearing masks while out in public. For more information visit www.cdc.gov.
As of Dec. 16, Texas has officially reported 1,367,965 confirmed cases and 151,375 probable cases of COVID-19 in the state. Over the past seven days, the state has seen an average of 11,659 new confirmed cases and 2,339 new probable cases each day. A confirmed case is a person who has tested positive on a molecular test. A probable case is a person who has tested positive on an antigen test, or someone who has a combination of symptoms and known exposure to someone with COVID-19. As of Dec. 16, the state has officially reported 24,394 deaths. Over the past seven days, Texas has reported an average of 188 deaths each day.
There will be a free COVID-19 testing clinic Sunday, Dec. 20, at Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park, in Fredericksburg from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Another free clinic will be held on Jan. 9, at the Hill Country Youth Event Center, in Kerrville, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. No referrals or appointments are needed and test results should be available within 48 hours.