Moderna’s COVID vaccine can be stored in normal refrigerator, making it easier to distribute to public

The public is learning more about the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, especially when it comes to its effectiveness and the distribution of the vaccine to the world.
Of the 30,000 volunteers who are taking part in the 25-month clinical trial, 57 of them are people being injected with the vaccine at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School. Dr. Shobha Swaminathan is leading the study. She says that the Moderna vaccine has a 94.5% efficacy rating.
“Ninety-percent-plus is the best-case scenario and I think anything over 90% is outstanding,” Swaminathan says.
Swaminathan says that to put it into perspective, with the flu vaccine – where the strain of the virus can change from year to year – the vaccine may only be 20%-30% effective. And there are other times when the vaccine efficacy rate is as high as 75%-80%.
The Moderna vaccine is also being touted because it can be stored in an everyday refrigerator for 30 days, which is a major advantage when it comes to getting it out to an entire country of people.
“Essentially it could be stored in pharmacies and other locations to be able to distribute on a faster basis,” Swaminathan says. “We want to be able to have a vaccine that is deployable in rural American places, where there may not be deep freezers with -80 degrees of capacity. Or Africa or Asia.”
Swaminathan is referring to Pfizer’s vaccine which needs to be kept in extremely cold temperatures. During distribution, it needs to be kept at around -100 degrees Fahrenheit.
The doctor says that at only five months into the study, more needs to be learned. It is not yet known how long the antibodies will last. Swaminathan notes that whether it's Moderna, Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson, the studies may reveal that some vaccines work better in certain populations, like the elderly, pregnant women or children. Finally, she says that she is very optimistic and proud of what the scientific community is doing at such great speed.
“I think it tells us what we can do as a society if we put our minds together and pool resources and work in a cohesive manner instead of being competitive,” Swaminathan says.
It is believed that first responders could have the vaccine by the end of 2020, with more available to the public by the spring.