United Airlines has already begun flying Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine into position - including trips to and from locations in the US and Europe - in anticipation of approval by the Food and Drug Administration and other regulators, according to a report.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the shipments, which require the vaccine candidate to be packed in dry ice, according to CNN. The chartered flights, which began Friday, were reportedly between Brussels and Chicago, the WSJ said.
"Moderna's vaccine was an important addition to our portfolio and securing an additional two million doses further adds to the protection we can provide to the public to end the pandemic".
John Kerry returns as Biden's climate czar
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Oxford and AstraZeneca reported this week that their vaccine appeared to be 62% effective in people who received two doses, and 90% effective when volunteers were given a half dose followed by a full dose. And Moderna's vaccine has been found to be 94.5% effective in a trial, the company said this week. Pfizer's vaccine, jointly developed with German partner BioNTech, must be stored and transported at minus 70 degrees Celsius (-94F), although it can be kept in a fridge for up to five days, or up to 15 days in a thermal shipping box. Dry ice usually is limited on flights, but United got FAA approval to vehicle about 15,000 pounds of it for each flight, according to the WSJ report. It has submitted the trial data to the FDA with the expectation that the vaccine could be officially approved after an agency vote in mid December.
As the race for a vaccine nears the end, the World Health Organization is calling on African countries to come up with plans and systems to carry out the Covid-19 vaccinations efficiently when the doses become available.
Bernama, quoting Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, reported that the agreement, signed on Tuesday, aimed to ensure the government had access to data to assess the vaccine's quality, safety and effectiveness, while also ensuring access once it is ready for distribution.