Moderna's Preliminary Results Indicate That Its COVID-19 Vaccine Is 94.5% Effective

Hang in there, folks. Help looks to be on the way.


Moderna released the preliminary results from its ongoing clinical trial of its messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine today, reporting that it is 94.5 percent effective at preventing COVID-19 infection. That would mean its vaccine is just about as effective at preventing COVID-19 as the measles, mumps, and rubella vaccine combination is at preventing those infections.

If the additional safety and efficacy data being collected through the end of this month from the clinical trial confirm these preliminary results, Moderna plans to seek an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If approved, the company expects to have approximately 20 million doses of its vaccine ready to ship in the U.S. and could manufacture 500 million to 1 billion doses globally in 2021.

Moderna's vaccine announcement follows last week's good news that the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech is at least 90 percent effective.

One big advantage of Moderna's vaccine is that it can be stored at –20°C and can remain stable for 30 days at 2° to 8°C—home refrigerator temperatures. In comparison, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine must be stored and transported at -70°C, which makes distribution more difficult.

Assuming positive results hold, the approval of these pioneer mRNA vaccines could truly transform how quickly and effectively new vaccines are developed. There may be other advancements on the horizon as well. Back in September, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported preclinical work in which researchers combined mRNA for 20 antigens for different diseases in the same vaccine. All 20 elicited good responses in mice. As JAMA pointed out, this means that "it might one day be possible for children to get 2 shots that cover their more than 50 vaccinations."

Both Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna plan to produce hundreds of millions of doses of their vaccine in the coming months. Hang in there just a bit longer, folks. It looks like help is on the way.

NEXT: Masks Are a Tool, Not a Panacea

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  1. ANOTHER vaccine that waited until AFTER the election to be announced, just so Trump would not win Pennsylvania. It’s conspiracy all the way down.

    Hell, at this point it’s looking like the Constitution itself was designed to deny Trump his rightful rulership. How is the Anti-Christ supposed to be able to sway the faithful down the road to Hell if a damn election gets in the way every four years?

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    2. I hope your execution is captured on video and shared far and wide

    3. These vaccines are sentient, after all they’re made from RNA. I think they voted for Jo Jorgenson.

    4. Big Pharma hated Trump’s push for lowering drug prices and increased transparency. They campaigned against him. They contributed to his opponents.

      This is hardly a surprise.

  2. Beyond just the blessed relief that would be an effective vaccine, the really big story here is the mRNA technology that is being developed for both vaccine candidates. So, thanks for covering that.

    It’s a really huge development to the point of being revolutionary, from everything I’ve read. It will completely change the way that vaccines are developed and delivered in the future.

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  3. What does 94% effective actually mean? Does that mean that of people who get the vaccine 94% won’t get it at all?

    1. shhh. don’t ask questions, it’s science!

    2. It means that if in an unvaccinated group 100 people would have been infected, then that same group, if all were vaccinated, would only have had 6 people infected.

      The percentage of people infected cannot be determined without knowing the size of the group. That is to say that it depends on how infectious the virus is.

    3. It means that, when they un-blinded the data on the study subjects that have now tested positive for Covid, they discovered that the number in the vaccinated group was about 6% of the number in the placebo group.

      I haven’t seen an actual subject count for the Moderna study. For the Pfizer study claiming initial 90% effectiveness, the preliminary positives count was 94 people. I take that to mean that 8 were in the vaccinated group and 86 were in the placebo group: 8 is 90.7% less than 86; so that implies effectiveness better than 90%.

      1. Correct. In this study about 30,000 people were involved, and of the less than 100 who got sick, 95% of them got the placebo.

        The real headline is that only 100 people out of the 15,000 who got the placebo got sick to begin with.

        The Pfizer study was similar, with something like 40,000 participants and less than 100 ended up positive.

        1. The numbers you cite are the PLANNED totals. Not all of the planned participants have received the first shot let alone the second, not to mention having had little time to be exposed to potential infection. Yes, it is good news, but it is also early, and later data is more likely to show a lower rate of protection than a higher rate.

          All of this data is based on symptomatic cases of disease, they say nothing about protection from asymptomatic infections, which is kinda important, as they are believed to account for about half of new transmission.

    4. Not to be pedantic but “… Indicate That Its COVID-19 Vaccine Is 94.5% Effective” suggests a testing process that is accurate to 0.5%. Apparently the testing they use for one of the richest guys in the world is only accurate to 50%.

      Unless I had access to the raw data and a team of biostatisticians to interpret it, I’d file these claims under “lying with statistics”.

    5. 94% of people who get the vaccine get sufficient immune response to not catch covid….. it really is not complicated.

      1. That sounds rather over-simplified. How do they know what is a sufficient immune response?

        1. it is explained in the link

          1. You mean the first one to the press release? That’s not what it says. It says what UCS and Elvis said above. They weren’t measuring immune response, just how many people got sick in each group. That’s what I wanted to know. What exactly do the numbers mean, not what conclusions might we draw from them.

      2. That is NOT what it says; it says they do not develop overt symptoms of COVID-19, which is what was being measured. It says nothing about asymptomatic infections, which can still spread the virus.

      3. Foo_dd you’re wrong. It’s not an absolute number for the infection rate as you imply – it’s an expression of the relative infection rate for vaccinated vs. unvaccinated.

        Here’s the formula. Look up vaccine efficacy.

        VE = (ARU – ARV) / ARU
        or VE = 1 – RR
        or VE = 1 – ARV / ARU

        ARU = Attack rate of unvaccinated.
        ARV = Attack rate of vaccinated.
        RR = Relative risk of developing the disease for vaccinated vs. unvacinated.

  4. Part of me thinks this is wonderful news, not just for COVID, but for health in general.

    Part of me thinks there’s something wrong with relying on vaccines to be healthy; the body has a natural immune system which does a pretty darn good job of taming novel infections. If we start to rely on vaccinations, will we soon need to get a new vaccination every year, month, week, or day? Like keeping kids in sterile clean environments, never eating food which has fallen on the floor, religiously washing hands after every little physical activity … I wonder if we will know when we’ve gone too far and become dependent on pills and injections which cripple our natural immune systems.

    1. Vaccines don’t replace our natural immune system; they simply provide the trigger by which our immune system functions against specific pathogens.

      The obsessive avoidance of dirt/germs/grime, especially in children, probably is cause for concern, in my opinion.

      1. My concern is if people start relying on vaccinatons entirely, deathly afraid to go outside, and weaken their immune system’s natural ability to detect novel infections. I don’t know enough about the immune system; can it tell the difference between COVID itself and COVID vaccinations? Obviously the re is a difference, otherwise why have a vaccine?

        1. Yeah, I’m no expert either. I don’t think relying on vaccinations is the harmful part of the equation, though. It’s the “deathly afraid to go outside” part. How I understand it, vaccinations beef up our immune system, and so does everyday exposure to the countless billions of microbes we encounter as part of living our lives.

          “otherwise why have a vaccine”

          because it’s generally safer to induce immunity through the vaccine than it is to attain immunity through actual infection.

        2. There’s a lot of study on this. The body can’t tell the difference BUT there’s some evidence that the body won’t react as vigorously to a vaccine as it would to the actual virus, mainly because concentrations of the viral particles when actively manufacturing itself in your cells is higher and freaks the immune system out more.

          This is why they add “adjuvants” to vaccines: to try to make up for the immune system’s lack of worry (“yeah there are a bunch of weird particles floating around in the bloodstream, but nobody’s complaining yet”) by deliberately irritating the immune system with something like aluminum. It… mostly?… seems to work, though as I understand it there’s some controversy around whether deliberately pissing off the immuno-response is actually the reason you sometimes see adverse effects.

    2. We may have already gone to far. they used to also say don’t over sanitize now they are sanitizing everything. here come the super bugs

      1. The super bugs have little to do with anything we’ve supposedly done to our immune systems. Super bugs arose because we’ve overused antibiotics and killed off only those non-super strains that respond to the antibiotic. This leaves super strains that are resistant to the antibiotic and therefore artificially selects for such super strains. But we wouldn’t need the antibiotics in the first place if our immune systems had mounted a strong enough response against the non-super strains in the first place. The immune system is pretty good at taking care of many diseases. Some, however, are just really hard for the immune system to deal with on its own, and this has been true for thousands of years.

    3. the problem is novel diseases, with high contagious rates. until a certain percentage of the population has some level of immunity, a disease like covid can rapidly exceed healthcare capacity. there are two ways to get there….. everyone catches it, or we vaccinate. for us to reach a level through infections where there is enough distributed immunity to keep the healthcare system from collapsing would take probably 5 more years of life like we have lived this year….. a vaccine gets us there faster.

      not everyone needs to be vaccinated, and a vaccine is not likely to last forever…… the point is to get to a point where we don’t have to let people die because we don’t have enough beds, AND we can get back to normal life….. right now, doing both is impossible.

      1. How many cases have there been where a person was refused hospital treatment because they didn’t have enough beds?
        Getting back to normal life right now for 99% of people is perfectly possible.

        1. Pretty much this.

          Also, if/when it gets to that point, the federal government and State National Guard units might have a legitimate role to play in this by deploying field hospitals, medics, and supplies to hard hit areas under actual emergency orders. I’m not a big fan of the preemptive emergency declarations being used to trample people’s rights that we’ve seen thus far.

          1. The medics are largely reserve troops who are nurses and EMTs at their day jobs. If they’re pulled into active duty, we lose them from the regular workforce.

            It very much is a zero sum game, which is why staffing is such a challenge for major events like covid.

        2. do you remember the people new york sent to nursing homes to die and spread the disease to other vulnerable people? that was done to free up hospital beds……. lack of hospital beds is also why Italy had such high death rates. (downside of socialized medicine….. less excess capacity.) many people have died because of not enough hospital beds.

          your argument amounts to saying we have not really killed many people yet, we need to try harder to kill a lot of people.

          1. “Trust the Top Men”

          2. Right, so it happened in a small number of fairly localized events. If I recall correctly there were only a few hospitals in NY that were ever out of capacity and similar in Italy.
            In these extreme cases, maybe there is some reason to do something more drastic. But those were never widespread and are not likely to be so.

          3. That was poor administration. The people were sent to nursing homes even while the hospital ship and tempo hospitals in the Javits Center etc. were operating at ~10-15% capacity. You can blame those deaths on local hospital and elected officials for those decisions.

            1. poor administration….. done for the reason you clowns want to pretend does not exist…..

        3. You do not get refused. You are transferred. When surgical or ICU beds are full then you are on bypass for EMS.

          If the above fails you do triage.

          It happens more often than you know. A hospital can refuse to admit a transfer patient for any number of reasons.

          If you walk in the doors of ED or are admitted or seen for care the provider cannot walk away. That is a serious medical legal issue.

          Normal is what exists not what we want it to be.

          1. Let me rephrase, then. How many people have been unable to get adequate medical treatment because of a shortage of beds/capacity in hospitals.

            And you don’t know what I know.

            You know what I mean when I say “normal”. And it is absolutely true that the vast majority could go back to life as they knew it a year ago right now with very little consequence to their lives.

            1. Because what existed in the past is normal. As if we could walk back time.

              Already many things have changed. Medical care and science among those. How many of us work and interact are among those things changed.

              What you propose is prediction, could go back with very little consequence, so you say.

              I have little faith in such prognostication.

          2. point is…. no need to triage, if you don’t exceed capacity….. triage is code for “we gonna let some people die.” this is not rocket science. if you deliberately create a situation where the number of people needing care exceeds the capacity to provide care….. people die, as you prioritize… (“triage” to make it sound less horrible.)

            there is no way to spin this to your benefit…… if you want people to take no voluntary actions to reduce the spread….. you are advocating that we should create a situation were people will die, who would not have otherwise died….. because you don’t want to act like a motherfucking adult….

            1. And if you deliberately create a situation where people can’t get normal medical care when they need it, people are going to die. That happened in a pretty widespread way this year. Hospitals needing to resort to triage happened for short times in a very small number of places.

      2. We’ve been hearing dire warnings about ICU’s overflowing since March and it’s only happened in a very small number of places like Northern Italy.

        Since then, we’ve gotten a lot better at preventing the spread, a lot better at treating the disease, and at least a little bit closer to herd immunity.

        The hospitals and ICU’s are NOT going to overflow because of COVID. It’s pretty silly to keep bringing up dire predictions which were proven wrong.

    4. If the immune system were that great at dealing with infections on its own, we wouldn’t have seen 400 million people die from smallpox (and another at least 1.2 billion from other communicable diseases) in the 20th century. Without vaccines, millions of people would succumb to diseases we no longer even think of.

      1. I;m not denying that some vaccines are useful. I am questioning whether we will come to rely on vaccines for every little sniffle and cough.

        My nose runs a lot when eating hot or cold food, or changing temperatures. I wonder if we will reach the day when that will put me in the quarantine cohort just because everyone is so enamored of vaccines curing everything.

        1. I think your concern for long-term problems is valid but I also think that there are a lot of scientists and doctors who are also aware of the potential long-term problems which could theoretically occur if we get too reliant on vaccines for every little thing.

          For example, doctors used to over-prescribe anti-biotics but they eventually realized that too many anti-biotics did more harm than good so they changed course.

      2. Yeah, vaccines are great. And when they work well against a disease that is legitimately scary, people will adopt them with great enthusiasm.

  5. Bailey fails to acknowledge that it was Trump’s leadership that made Moderno’s vaccine possible (as well as Pfizer’s).

    After watching Big Pharma’s anti-Trump TV ads trashing his drug price reduction policy as “Socialized Medicine” for the past six months, nobody should be surprised these important vaccine announcements were made a week after the election.

    1. Did you hear? Trump lost the election, he will be gone soon. You don’t need to make every little thing about him anymore.

      1. Follow your own advice.

    2. Someone here was looking for a real-world, consequential example of Trump’s deregulation. This is one.

      It’s too bad it hasn’t been extended more universally, but Trump must have gotten a lot of red tape suspended to make this possible so soon. Maybe because of this precedent, we can have broader deregulation. I’m sure this won’t be the last example.

      1. Trump did do a lot of good things but it’s hard for anyone to assess them rationally in the midst of all the crazy stuff he says and does and all the media attacks.

  6. Meanwhile Cuomo is still being a leftie asshole. He must really hate the people of NY State.

    1. You have to understand it from his side. A working vaccine means the end of his totalitarian power.

      1. Not necessarily.
        As Fauci says, still have to social distance and wear a muzzle even if everyone takes their vaccine

        1. If that quack wore a muzzle we’d all be better off.

    2. King Gavin in CA is doing the same thing as Cuomo

  7. Tell about the masks, Ron.

  8. It’s impressive that president-elect Biden was able to usher in this vaccine without even being in office.

    1. he should get the nobel prize for medicine

  9. What are the long term effects of mRNA vaccines?

    1. Health and long life?

      1. Nobody knows yet, dumbass. Vaccines are great, but there have been a lot that turned out to have unacceptable side effects or just didn’t work. We have very little idea at this point.

        1. It was a joke, simmer down. Obviously no one knows the long term effects – if any – of a technology that is just emerging.

          (Also, it’s the first half of the Vulcan greeting from Star Trek to which the response is probably Spock’s most famous turn of phrase.)

          1. Ha, I laughed.

            If I’m a septuagenarian, cancer survivor, or immune-compromised in some other way, then I’d probably accept the unknown risks as worth the potential benefit. As a relatively young and healthy individual who doesn’t have much contact with others who are in the above categories, I’ll probably wait a year or two before taking the vaccine to see if anyone who takes it grows a hand out of their forehead or anything.

            1. How brave of you.

              1. Thanks! Bravery comes natural to me as a direct consequence of my very large penis.

            2. A hand on the forehead would be great on a sunny day.

              Boom! Another win for Trump.

          2. Apologies. Humor fail. I see too many flip, pat answers like that from people who are not joking.

  10. Dr. Scott Atlas put together with over 20 authors a wonderful text of Neuro MRI. It helped a generation to grasp and use the concepts from physics to clinical application.

    He went off the rails. Sorry to see it.

    1. You repeat yourself again.

  11. So, Ron – are you going to be a guinea pig? Let’s see how many deaths, cases of autism, bi-polar, other maladies this “safe” yet untested vaccine causes. Will it be government-mandated? Where the hell is the wary-of-big-government Reason staff?

    Count me out.

    1. This cannot come out soon enough.

  12. Hi buddies,

    My brand is Diamond Smile I’ve donated 300k mask in corona in my employer s and all my friends & families members.
    I just wait for corona vaccine then I help and save ppls live..

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