Moderna applies for emergency COVID vaccine approval

Top trial held in Tucson
Posted at 6:37 PM, Nov 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-01 00:13:04-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — Moderna is now the second company to ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for emergency approval of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Moderna's top phase 3 trial of the vaccination is taking place in Tucson.

"I'll be ecstatic if we get FDA approval. Once it gets put into people's arms, then I'll know we did our jobs," said Tubac Fire Chief Cheryl Horvath, a participant in Moderna's phase 3 trial. "Then we can move on to some semblance of normalcy."

Approximately 30,000 participants are enrolled in the trial nationwide. More than 1,000 of those participants are in Southern Arizona. That's more than any other trial location in the United States.

"Super proud of Tucson, because the response Moderna got from the number of people in the greater Tucson area, who stepped up to volunteer, was huge," said Chief Horvath.

Moderna is now asking for emergency approval of it's vaccine.

Expanded data shows it's 94% effective at preventing COVID-19, and 100% effective at preventing severe cases of the disease.

Chief Horvath sees firsthand the need for a vaccine for her Tubac firefighters.

"Our transports are an hour. So, my firefighters are spending an hour in the back of an ambulance with a suspected or a known positive case," Chief Horvath said. "No matter how much PPE they have on it still creates so much anxiety."

She said Tubac Fire already has six firefighters enrolled in the Moderna vaccine trial and her crew is planning on the eventual approval of the drug.

"We know it's going to happen," Chief Horvath said. "We know there's probably going to be a round of shots in December for first responders and staff here."

Arizona has published a draft plan for who will get the vaccine first. It lists first responders in the very first group to receive the vaccine.

Read the draft in full, here.