Moderna Ups Its Vaccine Production Target To 1B Doses This Year
Other news on vaccine development and manufacturing looks at how we got here and the challenges ahead. Advice for people with allergies and cancer is also reported.
Moderna To Add 100 Million Doses To COVID-19 Vaccine Supply This Year
Pharmaceutical manufacturer Moderna will increase its vaccine production from 500 million doses to 600 million for 2021 and allocate resources to hopefully produce one billion vaccine doses in total this year, the company announced on Monday. Previously, the company committed to 500 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine for federal distribution. (Kelley, 1/4)
New COVID Vaccines Need Absurd Amounts Of Material And Labor
Barely a year ago few people outside of a small network of scientists and companies had heard of mRNA vaccines. Today millions are pinning their hopes on these genetics-based immunizations, which have taken center stage in the fight against COVID. But deficiencies in needed supplies and materials for making the vaccines could lead to widespread shortages, some scientists say. (Schmidt, 1/4)
Eureka! Two Vaccines Work — But What About The Also-Rans In The Pharma Arms Race?
As I prepared to get my shot in mid-December as part of a covid vaccine trial run by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, I considered the escape routes. Bailing out of the trial was a very real consideration since two other vaccines, made by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech, had been deemed safe and effective for emergency approval. Leaving the trial would be a perfectly sane decision for me or anyone who had volunteered for an ongoing covid experiment. Why risk getting covid-19 if I was given a placebo, a shot with no vaccine in it? The way tests are designed, I might not be told whether I received the vaccine until the clinical trial is over, months from now. (Allen, 1/5)
Allergists Offer Guidance On COVID-19 Vaccines For Those With Allergies
The review, written by a team of US allergists, notes that despite some early reports of severe allergic reactions to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, safety data from the phase 3 trials of both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are strong, and to date there have only been 12 reported allergic reactions to the vaccines across more than 2 million administered doses. But they recommend that those with a history of anaphylaxis to an injectable drug or vaccine containing polyethylene glycol or polysorbate speak with their allergists before being vaccinated. (1/4)
What Cancer Patients Should Know About The New COVID-19 Vaccines
COVID-19 is twice as likely to be fatal for patients who also have cancer than patients without cancer. That’s why the American Association for Cancer Research last month recommended that cancer patients be considered for priority access to the two new COVID-19 vaccines. An AACR task force reviewed the medical literature and found that even when age, sex, and chronic illnesses were taken into account, cancer patients had a greater risk for severe COVID-19 disease and death. (McCullough, 1/5)
St. Louis Post Dispatch:
Missouri May Consider Allowing Dentists To Administer COVID-19 Vaccine
A Missouri lawmaker wants to give dentists permission to help administer COVID-19 vaccines. As other states consider adding dentists to the roster of professionals deployed in the fight against the pandemic, Rep. Danny Busick, R-Newtown, filed legislation Monday that would give them the ability to volunteer as vaccinators during emergencies. (Erickson, 1/4)
In updates about the Wisconsin pharmacist accused of tampering with vaccines —
The New York Times:
Pharmacist Accused Of Tampering With Vaccine Was Conspiracy Theorist, Police Say
A pharmacist who was arrested on charges that he intentionally sabotaged more than 500 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine at a Wisconsin hospital was “an admitted conspiracy theorist” who believed the vaccine could harm people and “change their DNA,” according to the police in Grafton, Wis., where the man was employed. The police said Steven Brandenburg, 46, who worked the night shift at the Aurora Medical Center in Grafton, Wis., had twice removed a box of vials of the Moderna vaccine from the refrigerator for periods of 12 hours, rendering them “useless.” (Dewan and Nolan, 1/4)
Pharmacist Who Spoiled More Than 500 Vaccine Doses Said He Thought They Were 'Unsafe'
The Wisconsin pharmacist accused of intentionally sabotaging more than 500 doses of the coronavirus vaccine at Christmastime told police he did it because he believed the drug is somehow hazardous. "He'd formed this belief they were unsafe," Ozaukee County District Attorney Adam Gerol said of Steven Brandenburg on Monday during a virtual hearing, The Associated Press reported. Gerol did not offer more information on why Brandenburg was convinced the inoculations could be harmful, but he did paint a picture of a troubled man in the midst of personal turmoil. He explained that the 46-year-old is in the process of divorcing his wife, and he said a fellow Advocate Aurora Health employee reported that Brandenburg had taken a gun to work twice. (Romo, 1/4)