USA – Moderna Inc has announced that its Covid-19 shot was about 93 percent effective through six months after the second dose, showing hardly any change from the 94 percent efficacy reported in its original clinical trial.

That compares favorably to data from Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE last week in which they said their vaccine’s efficacy waned around six percent every two months, declining to around 84 percent six months after the second shot.

Our Covid-19 vaccine is showing durable efficacy of 93 percent through six months, but recognize that the Delta variant is a significant new threat so we must remain vigilant,” Moderna Chief Executive Stéphane Bancel said.

Chief Executive Stephane Bancel also said the company would not be able to produce more than the 800 million to 1 billion doses of the vaccine it has already targeted for this year.

This year, Moderna has signed vaccine contracts worth US$20 billion in sales. It has agreements for US$12 billion in 2022, with options for another roughly US$8 billion in sales, and expects to produce between 2 billion and 3 billion doses next year.

The company has not been able to keep pace with much larger Pfizer, which expects to manufacture as many as 3 billion doses this year and 2021 sales to top US$33.5 billion.

Moderna reported second-quarter sales of US$4.4 billion, slightly above analysts’ expectations of US$4.2 billion, according to Refinitiv data. Its COVID-19 shot is the company’s first commercial product. Sales were just US$67 million a year earlier.

Moderna’s vaccine was authorized for emergency use in adults in the United States in December and has since been cleared for emergency or conditional use in adults in more than 50 countries.

This new Moderna data comes from the company’s roughly 30,000-participant clinical trial used to support the vaccine’s emergency authorization in December.

The six-month data also suggests that Moderna’s vaccine still provides 98% protection against severe disease and was 100% effective at preventing death caused by COVID-19. There were three deaths in the placebo arm of the trial.

However, the company said it still expects booster shots to be necessary to maintain a high level of protection against COVID-19, especially as more contagious variants of the virus spread widely.

Public health officials around the world are debating whether additional vaccine booster doses will be necessary as they grapple with the fast-spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus that has become dominant in many countries, leading to a surge in cases and hospitalizations, especially among the unvaccinated.

This, even as Pfizer said it is planning to seek authorization for a third shot later this month. Some countries like Israel and Germany have begun or plan to start administering booster shots to older or vulnerable people.

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