FDA Backs Adding Vaccine to Every Moderna Vial

Production line changes will take a couple of months
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 12, 2021 5:36 PM CST
FDA Backs Adding Vaccine to Every Moderna Vial
Cheri Rose draws the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe last week at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital in Vermont.   (Kristopher Radder/The Brattleboro Reformer via AP)

Moderna and the Food and Drug Administration have agreed on a way to get more coronavirus vaccine to its destination, and it sounds simple enough: Put more in each vial. Filling the vials closer to the brim will put 40% more in each, the New York Times reports—14 doses instead of 10. That could be enough to raise the vaccine supply in the US by 20%. The amount of a dosage is 0.5 milliliters, per the Hill. The FDA has asked the company to submit data showing the change won't reduce efficacy. Work on the production lines to accommodate the change could be complete by late April. "It would be a great step forward," said Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who was involved in the Trump administration's vaccine development program. "I think it will have an impact in the short term."

The company had asked approval for the change last month. It will ease the slowdown when the bottles are filled, capped, and labeled. The FDA might decide to inspect the production process after any changes. Moderna also wants the stated life of the vaccine, once the seal is punctured, to be extended. The company said in a statement that it's continuing to ramp up production. Moderna said it has supplied 41 million doses to the federal government so far, and President Biden said this week that the US is buying 100 million more doses from Moderna. The true number of doses per vial can be murky: Although the CDC says it's 10, special syringes already have been able to draw 11 doses. (Read more coronavirus vaccine stories.)

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