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Solving COVID

Moderna CEO says vaccine won't be ready to be distributed widely until the spring

Moderna won't be able to seek emergency use authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate earlier than late November, and the vaccine would likely not be available to the general public prior to March, its CEO says.

Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel told the Financial Times on Wednesday that the company wouldn't have enough data to seek emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its coronavirus vaccine candidate before Nov. 25 at the earliest. He also told the Financial Times that the company wouldn't be able to file for approval to get the vaccine to the entire population until late January at the earliest, meaning that "late [first quarter], early [second quarter]" of 2021 is a "reasonable timeline" for approval.

This, CBS News writes, was both a "setback for Moderna" as well as a "blow to claims by" President Trump that a coronavirus vaccine could be ready prior to Election Day. Trump has repeatedly touted such a possibility, and he contradicted experts in his administration during the first 2020 presidential debate on Tuesday while claiming that "we're weeks away from a vaccine."

But Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told Congress last month that in terms of when a vaccine might be "generally available to the American public so we can begin to take advantage" of it to "get back to our regular life, I think we're probably looking at ... late second quarter, third quarter 2021."

Given the Moderna CEO's comments, the Financial Times writes that the "most realistic hope of a pre-election vaccine" would be from Pfizer, as that company's CEO says it should know whether its vaccine works by the end of October. But The New York Times writes that "the idea that it will be ready in October is far-fetched."