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All about the Moderna coronavirus vaccine: what strains it protects against, and should the vaccinated be afraid of anaphylaxis


What is known about the Moderna coronavirus vaccine. Photo: Pixabaу

What is known about the Moderna coronavirus vaccine. Photo: Pixabaу

In Ukraine, vaccination against the COVID-19 coronavirus has begun with an analogue of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine—Covishield. The first to get vaccination was the resuscitator of the Cherkasy regional hospital Yevgen Gorenko. And on February 25, 2021, vaccination started in Kyiv.

The Page has previously written about AstraZeneca, Covishield, and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. We continue the cycle with an article about the vaccine of the American biotechnological company Moderna.

The formula, effectiveness and disadvantages of the vaccine has been analyzed.


Moderna coronavirus vaccine: formula

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine contains the following ingredients: matrix ribonucleic acid (mRNA), lipids (SM-102, polyethylene glycol [PEG] 2000, dimyristoylglycerol [DMG], cholesterol, and 1,2-distearoyl-sn-glycero-3. -phosphocholine [DSPC]), tromethamine, tromethamine hydrochloride, acetic acid, sodium acetate, and sucrose. The official name of the medication is mRNA-1273.

Moderna COVID-19 vaccine does not contain the SARS-CoV-2 virus and cannot cause COVID-19 disease.

Moderna is an RNA vaccine that works similarly to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. However, vaccine storage is simpler—it can be stored at 2 to 8 degrees below zero during 30 days. It can be stored in syringes for up to 8 hours at room temperature before injection. The vaccine can also be stored for 6 months at -20° C.


Vaccine efficacy

In clinical trials, Moderna vaccine was found to protect against COVID-19 after 2 doses 1 month apart. Immunity to infection lasts for several months, but its full duration has not yet been identified.

According to WHO, Moderna's medication is 92% effective after the first injection. In general, the efficacy of the vaccine is estimated at 94.1%, in addition, it protects against a severe form of coronavirus.

Unlike Pfizer/BioNTech, the vaccine is effective against the South African strain of the coronavirus. The company has developed an updated vaccine to combat this strain. It will be rated as a "booster" vaccine for people who have already been vaccinated against the coronavirus, and as a primary vaccine for people who have not yet had COVID-19 and have not been vaccinated. However, it is currently unknown when the updated vaccine will begin to be used.

By the way, the Moderna vaccine is the third most commonly used in the world. According to Our World in Data, it is used in 27 countries around the world.


Moderna vaccine: indications and contraindications

The FDA has approved the Moderna vaccine to prevent COVID-19 in people 18 years of age or older. It is not recommended if a patient has a previously identified severe allergic reaction after a previous dose of this vaccine or an allergic reaction to any of its ingredients.

The vaccine can be used to protect people with proven diseases that increase the risk of severe coronavirus, such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, respiratory, liver or kidney disease, as well as chronic infections, provided they are stable.

WHO has advised that the Moderna vaccine should be used by pregnant women only in exceptional cases. If women who are breastfeeding are in the group recommended for vaccination (for example, healthcare professionals), they can be vaccinated. Breastfeeding after vaccination does not need to be stopped.

If a person has already been sick with COVID-19, they can also be vaccinated. They can postpone their COVID-19 vaccine if they wish for up to six months.

Vaccination is also recommended for the elderly, but the decision to vaccinate extremely weak elderly patients with a projected life expectancy of less than 3 months should be made after an individual assessment of their condition.

SAGE recommends immunization with the Moderna vaccine in two stages (100 μg, 0.5 ml each time) with an interval of 28 days. If necessary, the interval between doses can be increased up to 42 days.


Side effects

The most common side effects of the Moderna vaccine are:

  • Injection site reactions: pain, soreness, and swollen lymph nodes in the injection arm, swelling (induration) and redness.
  • Common side effects: fatigue, headache, muscle pain, joint pain, chills, nausea and vomiting, fever.

There is a low risk that the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine could cause a severe allergic reaction. A severe allergic reaction usually occurs within minutes to one hour after a dose of the vaccine is injected. Signs of a severe allergic reaction may include shortness of breath, swelling of the face and throat, rapid heart palpitations, a profuse rash all over the body, dizziness, and weakness. If this happens, the person will not be given a second dose of Moderna.

The incidence of anaphylaxis is 2.8 per million doses, but in all cases the patients recovered.


Moderna vaccine in Ukraine

"We have received a letter from COVAX about the possibility of supplying m-RNA vaccines to the country in the near future," Chief Sanitary Doctor Viktor Lyashko said in January. If the Pfizer/BioNTech RNA vaccine has already been registered in Ukraine, then there is still no 100% guarantee that the Moderna vaccine will appear in the country.

In general, the company is preparing to supply from 600 million to 1 billion doses of coronavirus vaccine to the market this year.


Coronavirus vaccine price

Recall: vaccination in Ukraine will be free, at the expense of the state. If desired and there is a sufficient amount of the medication, it will be possible to vaccinate "out of turn"—a person's own expense.

The estimated cost of the Moderna vaccine ranges from $25 to $37 per dose (698.27—1033.43 UAH).


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