Second coronavirus vaccine, from Moderna, shows promise
Share Now on:
Moderna is the second drug company in a week to announce preliminary results showing its coronavirus vaccine is highly effective. Dow futures are rallying on the news.
Marketplace’s Nova Safo has the latest, and the following is an edited transcript of his conversation with “Marketplace Morning Report” host Sabri Ben-Achour.
Sabri Ben-Achour: What are the details of Moderna’s announcement?
Nova Safo: Moderna says its coronavirus vaccine is almost 95% effective and may have helped prevent severe cases of COVID-19 among those who still got infected.
This was not unexpected news after Pfizer and BioNTech’s announcement last week, because both of these experimental vaccines use similar technology — new technology — relying on messenger RNA, a cell’s internal mechanism, to help fend off a viral infection.
The big difference is that, unlike Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine, Moderna’s version does not need to be kept in ultracold storage for transport, so it could be less of a logistical challenge to get it to people.
We should caution that neither of these vaccines currently have regulatory approval, but applications are expected in the next few weeks.
Ben-Achour: And then what happens? Presumably it’s going to take a while to get vaccines to people?
Safo: Yes. If approved, we could have tens of millions of doses by the end of this year, but we’ll need hundreds of millions. The U.S. has deals in place for both vaccines, to buy as many as a billion doses, so we’ll have enough, but it’ll take a while to manufacture that many.
It’s also unclear how many people will actually take them. Polling shows about 50% are willing to get vaccinated.
That’s not going to cut it. As one of the BioNTech scientists explained over the weekend, you need a high vaccination rate to get this pandemic under control.
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?
As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.
Give me a snapshot of the labor market in the U.S.
U.S. job openings in February increased more than expected, according to the Labor Department. Also, the economy added over 900,000 jobs in March. For all of the good jobs news recently, there are still nearly 10 million people who are out of work, and more than 4 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer. “So we still have a very long way to go until we get a full recovery,” said Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute. She said the industries that have the furthest to go are the ones you’d expect: “leisure and hospitality, accommodations, food services, restaurants” and the public sector, especially in education.
What do I need to know about tax season this year?
Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.
Marketplace is on a mission.
We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.
Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?