Medical experts react to news of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine trial

In the midst of a growing COVID-19 surge, executives with U.S drug-maker Moderna Inc. say the company has developed shots that prove effective against the coronavirus.

It’s the second time in November a major U.S. drug maker has touted success in fighting the virus.

“You don’t need any device. It’s like when you get your flu shot at your local CVS or Walgreens. It’s the same thing,” said Moderna CEO Stephane Bencel.

He took to the airwaves Monday with words of comfort for a jittery global community. Bencel said clinical trials show shots from the drug-maker’s vaccine provide “strong protection” against COVID-19.

The vaccine is being created with the National Institutes of Health, and is being tested on 30,000 volunteers. Those subjects either received the vaccine or a placebo. So far, the two-shot Moderna solution to COVID – which needs to be kept in an ultra cold place -- appears to be 94.5% effective.

“Once you have a vaccine shown to be safe and effective in adults, you and go back and do phase one and phase two trials in children,” said NIAID Director Dr. Anthony Fauci.

U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo, (D) Cailf. 18, sent an email to KTVU, which reads in part, “Importantly, the vaccine candidate also appeared to prevent severe COVID-19 disease. It is extremely promising that two separate vaccine candidates (Moderna & Pfizer) have so far shown high efficacy and I congratulate all those involved in this life-saving work.”

“We should not be thinking our Christmas gift or our Hanukkah gift or whatever holiday you celebrate, is gonna to be a shot for the end of the year,” said Dr. Michael Urban, a professor of occupational therapy at the University of New Haven.

He and other health experts warn an effective COVID vaccine is not a magic bullet, and may not be wildly available for months.

“It’s great news to hear, the 90 to 95 effectiveness in these vaccines. I think we’re on that verge of finding a solution to the end (of COVID). The thing that you have to remember is, we’re still at the early stages of it. So we probably won’t see these vaccines come out for another four to six months,” said Urban.

“I would recommend to people to not abandon all public health measures just because you have been vaccinated," added Dr. Fauci. 

Last week, Pfizer Inc. announced its own COVID-19 vaccine appeared to be almost as effective as the new drug from Moderna.

Federal officials are fast-tracking the first doses for as soon as next month, but they’ll go to healthcare workers, first responders and those most at risk to contract COVID-19.