The first 20,000 doses of Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine will arrive in the Czech Republic on Monday and will be delivered to the Moravian-Silesian Region.
Moderna’s vaccine uses messenger RNA (mRNA) technology similar to the Pfizer-BioNTech shot but is easier to handle since it doesn’t need to be refrigerated at extremely low temperatures.
In trials involving 30,000 volunteers, it was over 94% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in adults. It’s still unclear if the shot prevents the asymptomatic spread of the disease.
U.S.-based Moderna said on Monday it would produce at least 600 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in 2021, up by 100 million doses from its previous forecast.
According to Prime Minister Andrej Babis, about 40,000 people have been vaccinated in the country.
Under standard rules, five doses can be drawn from each vial, but experts have said that, with the right needle and syringe, is possible to obtain a sixth or even seventh dose.
The vaccine is given in a two-dose schedule with an interval of 21 days. The vaccination procedure lasts about 15 minutes, each vaccinated person is observed for additional 30 minutes.
According to PM Babiš, the Czech Republic has ordered 15 million doses of coronavirus vaccines as opposed to the 11.9 million planned in the government strategy.
More than half of the orders are for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, which has already been approved by the European Medicines Agency.
“We are awaiting the approval of Astra Zeneca vaccine, which we have ordered three million doses,” Babis added. The vaccine has already been approved in the UK, with approval from the European Medicines Agency expected by the end of January.