Moderna CEO: Booster shots could be coming in fall
Teen vaccinations moving ahead; coming for 6-11 year olds
SINGLE-DOSE booster COVID-19 shots are likely to be available late this summer or during the fall for people who were originally vaccinated in December or January, the CEO of Moderna said on Wednesday.
At a press conference with Gov. Charlie Baker at Moderna’s Norwood manufacturing facility, Stéphane Bancel said the company is pursuing three booster strategies – one using the existing vaccine, one using a vaccine tailored to a strain of COVID-19 that originated in South Africa, and one that’s a combination of the two.
Bancel said the company is studying clinical data and working with federal regulators to determine the best strategy. He said the booster shots will be useful in keeping the virus in check this fall and winter.
The CEO also said booster shots will not have to be made by the same company that produced the patient’s initial shot, meaning someone who received the Pfizer vaccine could receive a Moderna booster shot.
Bancel said Moderna is also working on vaccines for teens and children 6 to 11. He said the vaccine for teens is the same as the vaccine for adults and should gain approval in the next couple of weeks. He said the vaccine for younger children should be a lower dose of the existing vaccine for adults.
The CEO said younger children have strong immune systems and rarely get sick from COVID-19, but he said inoculating them is important because they can be carriers of the virus.
“It’s important to vaccinate as many people as we can,” he said.
Moderna is a company whose value has skyrocketed with the release of its COVID-19 vaccine. Total revenue for the three months ending March 31 was $1.9 billion, with $1.7 billion coming from the sale of the company’s COVID-19 vaccine. For the comparable period a year ago, revenue was $8 million.
Net income was $1.2 billion during the first quarter, compared to a net loss of $120 million for the same period in 2020.
Bancel said the company is ramping up capacity at its manufacturing plant in Norwood, with plans to produce somewhere between 800 million and 1 billion doses by the end of the year. He said the company plans to manufacture 3 billion doses in 2022.
In other news:
LIZ CHENEY — The governor sided with US Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, who was ousted from House Republican leadership for criticizing former president Donald Trump and insisting the 2020 election results were not tainted. “I made very clear that I felt the election process that took place back in November was fair, and that President Joe Biden won the election. And on these issues I believe Liz Cheney is absolutely right,” Baker said.The governor, however, refused to disavow the Republican Party to which he has been a member most of his life. “I’ve had my differences, as everybody knows, with plenty of folks in the party over the course of the time that I’ve been in public life. But I’m a big believer in what the party fundamentally stands for, based on what I believe it stands for,” he said.
EMPLOYEE VACCINATIONS — Baker said the state is preparing to launch an employee vaccination program that would allow employers to reserve blocks of inoculation times at mass vaccination sites or have mobile vaccination clinics visit their facilities.