Moderna vaccine is highly protective and prevents serious illness, data shows

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But fewer cases of Covid-19 occurred among trial participants in the early days of the Moderna trial, making it more difficult to measure the differences between the vaccinated group and the placebo group. Either way, health officials have said that for both vaccines, two doses are essential for full protection.

A second difference concerns the ability to prevent serious illness. Moderna has produced more evidence that its vaccine can do this, according to the journal. In his trial, 30 volunteers developed severe cases of Covid. All were in the placebo group, with no cases among those vaccinated.

In the Pfizer-BioNTech trial, the results were less convincing. There were 10 serious cases in the placebo group and one in the vaccinated group. These numbers are too small to assess the vaccine’s ability to prevent serious disease.

“The data available for these results did not allow any definitive conclusions to be drawn,” the FDA said.

Documents released on Tuesday made it clear that side effects were particularly common after the second dose, but usually only lasted a day. Experts say people may need to take time off work after being vaccinated.

During the Moderna trial, researchers also kept an eye out for volunteers who developed new disorders. In a multi-month trial with 30,000 volunteers, it’s normal for some to suffer from conditions unrelated to the vaccine, health experts say. Comparing the rates between people who receive the vaccine and the placebo – as well as general baseline rates – can help identify serious concerns and rule out coincidences.

During the Moderna trial, three vaccinated participants developed a form of temporary facial palsy called Bell’s palsy, while one participant on the placebo also experienced it. Bell’s palsy, which can last for weeks or more, can be triggered by viral infections and other causes. Some 40,000 people develop the disease each year in the United States. Years of intense research have failed to find evidence that any vaccine routinely recommended in the United States causes Bell’s palsy.

In the review published Tuesday, the FDA said, “There is insufficient information currently available to determine a causal relationship with the vaccine. “

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