COVID vaccine maker Moderna announced Thursday morning that it would produce up to 1 billion doses of its injections this year and up to 3 billion next year. Most of next year’s doses will be for immunization of young children and booster shots, which will likely be needed as immunity wanes over time and in the face of new variants.
The production increase will take place at factories in the United States and Spain, the company said in a press release.
Three COVID-19 vaccines are authorized in the United States, including that of Moderna, one based on similar mRNA technology manufactured by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, and a single-dose vaccine by Johnson & Johnson.
“As we monitor the rapid spread of the variants of concern in SARS-CoV-2, we believe there will still be a significant need for our COVID-19 mRNA vaccine and our booster candidate variants in 2022 and 2023,” said said Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna. , said in a prepared statement.
Moderna also announced that tests show the current vaccine can be safely stored for three months in a refrigerator, an increase of two months from the current standard and up to seven months in a freezer. He is working on reformulating the vaccine to further extend its refrigerated shelf life.
President Joe Biden celebrated his administration surpassed its goal of delivering 200 million COVID-19 vaccines in his first 100 days in office, urging all Americans to get vaccinated and describing the national effort as one of the greatest “logistical achievements this country has ever seen” in its first speech to Congress on Wednesday.
Also in the news:
►The cruise could restart in mid-summer in US waters, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Wednesday in a letter to the cruise industry that USA TODAY obtained.
►Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said on Wednesday that she expects New Mexico to open by the end of June as long as the state meets its goal of having at least 60% of residents fully vaccinated by then.
►The White House on Wednesday announced supplies worth more than $ 100 million to India to help the country cope with the outbreak that has claimed the lives of more than 200,000 people.
► Britain says it is buying an additional 60 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to give booster shots in the fall.
►South Africa has resumed administration of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to health workers after a break of more than two weeks in using the country’s only vaccine.
📈 Today’s numbers: The United States has more than 32.2 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 574,000 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Global totals: over 149 million cases and 3.1 million deaths. More than 301.8 million doses of the vaccine have been distributed in the United States and 234.6 million have been administered, according to the CDC.
📘 What we read: Do you have a loved one who doesn’t want to get the COVID-19 vaccine? Here’s how to talk to them.
Keep refreshing this page for the latest updates. Want more? Sign up for our Coronavirus Watch newsletter for updates to your inbox and join our Facebook group.
Biden mom on push for fourth stimulus check
Biden did not raise the issue of a possible fourth stimulus check when he spoke to Congress on Wednesday night. Democratic lawmakers in both houses of Congress are calling for a fourth round of checks to help Americans who are still struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic. Such a move could lift more than 7 million people out of poverty, according to a recent analysis by the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, a non-partisan think tank.
“Are we well? Are people still in pain? There is evidence that we are not out of the woods yet, ”said Elaine Maag, senior research associate for the center.
Vaccines galore but some Californians have trouble getting one
Hearing an excess of vaccine and unfilled appointments frustrates Dr Aaron Roland, a family doctor who is pushing for doses to immunize his patients, many of whom are low-income, immigrants or elderly. The San Francisco Bay Area doctor has more than 200 patients who have asked when he would offer vaccines for the coronavirus. A 67-year-old patient said he walked into a Safeway supermarket because signs said doses were available.
“But they said, ‘Oh no, they’re not really available. You just have to go online, register online. “It’s not something he does very easily,” said Dr Roland, whose practice is in Burlingame, south of San Francisco.
California, which is swimming in the vaccine, is in much better shape than just a few weeks ago, when marking a date was cause for celebration. Today, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego and other populated counties are announcing that anyone can come in for a photo, and the state is texting a reminder that there are plenty of dates available. Rural Humboldt County even cut an additional 1,000 doses last week due to poor demand.
More than 18 million of the estimated 32 million eligible for the vaccine in California are fully or partially vaccinated, including nearly half of people living in economically vulnerable postcodes hardest hit by the pandemic and 73% of residents 65 and over . The country’s most populous state, like most of the United States, appears to have reached a vaccine plateau.
But that doesn’t mean that everyone who wants a vaccine can get one – as some of Dr. Roland’s patients can attest.
– Janie Har, Palm Springs Desert Sun
The United States could finally take the turn of the pandemic
Potential COVID surges may have collapsed in almost any state, according to analysis of US data TODAY. National case count leaders New York, Michigan and now Florida have all reported a drop in the number of cases. But the threat has also diminished in most states with smaller populations.
“Above all, we should be heading towards a new normal,” tweeted Dr Ashish K. Jha, dean of the Brown University School of Public Health, noting that most American adults are now at least partially vaccinated. Clinical trials are underway to vaccinate children from the age of 6 months.
Florida, which still leads the country in new cases, saw that number of cases drop 12% from the previous week. He only became the leader because Michigan accounts plunged more than 36% from the start of the month.
– Mike Stucka
Contributor: Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY; The Associated Press