The Moderna vaccine has been granted a conditional marketing authorization (CMA) by the European Commission, and it will be rolled out across the Republic of Ireland in the coming days.
The European Commission said in a statement on January 6: “This authorization follows a positive scientific recommendation based on a thorough assessment of the safety, effectiveness, and quality of the vaccine by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and is endorsed by the Member States.”
The Moderna vaccine, which has been approved for people aged 18 and older, is administered in two doses 28 days apart. A clinical trial involving around 30,000 found the Moderna vaccine to have more than 90 percent efficacy rates.
"This vaccine provides us with another tool to overcome the current emergency, said Emer Cooke, a native of Ireland and the Executive Director of the EMA.
“It is a testament to the efforts and commitment of all involved that we have this second positive vaccine recommendation just short of a year since the pandemic was declared by WHO.
“As for all medicines, we will closely monitor data on the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine to ensure ongoing protection of the EU public. Our work will always be guided by the scientific evidence and our commitment to safeguard the health of EU citizens.”
The Moderna vaccine is the second vaccine that has been approved for use by the EMA. The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine was previously approved for use in the European Union on December 21 and has begun to be rolled out across the Republic of Ireland.
(Two vaccines - the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine and, more recently, the Oxford / Astra Zeneca vaccine - have already been approved for use in Northern Ireland, which, as part of the United Kingdom, is not subject to the EMA approvals.)
The European Commission has signed a contract with Moderna to secure 160 million doses of the vaccine between the first and third quarters of 2021. This comes in addition to the 300 million doses of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine.
Responding to the news on Wednesday, Stephen Donnelly, the Minister for Health in the Republic of Ireland, gave an update on the vaccine rollout in the country:
Great to see a second vaccine -Moderna - get approval from the EU medicines agency. Here's an update on our national vaccine rollout plan. pic.twitter.com/IoaIaN9zPc— Stephen Donnelly (@DonnellyStephen) January 6, 2021
“We’ve preordered about 875 thousand doses of the Moderna vaccine. And we’ve ordered about 3.3 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which, as you know, has already been approved.
“Hopefully we will get more good news about the AstraZeneca vaccine soon. And there are other vaccines as well in the pipeline.
“Details of the delivery for individual vaccines are fluid until they are authorized. For example, between now and the end of February, we are due to receive about 40,000 Pfizer vaccines a week.
“Delivery and logistics for Moderna are now being finalized. When we have a clear delivery schedule, that will allow us to scale up and we will increase the number of vaccines we are administering every week.
“This week, we are moving into 25 residential care facilities and across all hospital groups. By the end of the week, the HSE intends to have administered 40,950 vaccines to nursing home residents and healthcare professionals.
“In the initial weeks, we will be holding on to some stock. This is to ensure we can administer a second dose to those who have received their first dose even if we experience a temporary supply chain issue, as other countries already have.”
The news comes as the Irish government announced changes to restrictions across the country amid a surge in cases: