Moderna Inc’s (NASDAQ:MRNA) COVID-19 vaccine has been declared safe and highly effective by scientists at the US Food and Drug Administration.

The recommendation clears the way for the vaccine to be approved for use on the public with reports in the US suggesting people might start to receive the jab as early as the weekend.

Americans started to receive inoculations of the Pfizer/BioNTech developed vaccine yesterday.

The FDA confirmed a 94.1% efficacy rate in a trial of 30,000 people half of which received the Moderna vaccine, with side effects rare and most often confined to fever, headaches, and muscle and joint pain.

On Thursday an FDA committee will give its verdict, which in most cases is reflected in the decision to approve or not by the FDA.

Unconfirmed reports in the US press suggested the final FDA decision will be announced on Friday.

Political pressure to find a medical solution to the virus ratcheted up another notch with the announcement today that the US has now recorded more than 300,000 COVID-19 related deaths.

Britain has acquired 7mln doses of the vaccine, or enough for 3.5mln people as two are needed, which is expected to be available in Europe in spring 2021.

Stephane Bancel, Moderna’s chief executive, has highlighted the vaccine’s success in trials of preventing cases of severe Covid-19 disease and says he sees it as being most useful to those at high risk because of this efficacy.

Moderna’s has advantages over the Pfizer vaccine in that it can be stored in a fridge rather than a deep freeze container even though both are based on similar mRNA technology.

Moderna’s share price eased 2.6% on the news.

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