Yesterday, a panel of scientific experts endorsed the Moderna vaccine against coronavirus.
This paves the way for the Moderna vaccine to become the second vaccine to receive emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA. That approval could come late today.
All but one of the 21 experts on the panel voted that the available evidence indicated the vaccine’s benefits outweighed its risks for people aged 18 and older. One member abstained.
This is similar to the result last week for the Pfizer vaccine. The only objections came over that vaccine’s possible use in 16- and 17-year old children.
Vice-President Mike Pence received the Pfizer vaccine on nationwide TV this morning.
Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are mRNA vaccines.
But the Moderna vaccine has a big advantage: It can be stored at normal medical freezer temperatures. So, it will not need the same special equipment to transport and store as the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
The U.S. government has secured a larger supply of the Moderna vaccine than Pfizer’s. It signed a second deal with Moderna last week. This brings its total preorder of the vaccine to 200 million doses by the second quarter of 2021.
The government has preordered 100 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine. And it is trying to help increase production in order to secure another 100 million doses.
This is the beginning of the end of our national Covid nightmare.
The Big News
Hospitals Find ‘Surprise’ in Vaccine Deliveries
As the Pfizer vaccines began arriving this week, hospital pharmacists found many of the glass vials that are supposed to hold five doses contained more. There was enough vaccine for a sixth — or even a seventh — person. The FDA said that, “given the public health emergency,” it was OK to use every full dose left over in each vial.
Operation Warp Speed Stumbles
All is not going well with the rollout of vaccines nationwide. Beginning next week, there will be a 25% to 40% reduction in Pfizer vaccine shipments to states. Meanwhile, millions of doses are sitting idly in Pfizer warehouses without federal government direction on where to ship them.
Online trading has boomed during the pandemic. But the online trading app Robinhood has run afoul of regulators. It agreed to pay $65 million to settle charges by the SEC. The trading app settled accusations that it had misled customers about how it makes money (by collecting payments from Wall Street firms for passing along customer trades) . . . and that it profited at the expense of users. The settlement was announced a day after Massachusetts accused Robinhood of “unscrupulously” pushing investors into risky investments.
The Pandemic and Movies
Movie theater chains are not happy. WarnerMedia decided recently to stream all its 2021 films on HBO Max at the same time the films are released in theaters. Now, theater chains are weighing how to retaliate against WarnerMedia. Some possible measures include charging only $3 per ticket for Warner Bros. movies and keeping a bigger cut.
Covid and Pregnancy
Five women involved in a Covid-19 study have given birth to babies with immunity to the virus. This is according to the Singapore Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research Network. The study involved 16 women, five of whom have already given birth. They showed no evidence of viral transmission to newborns. All infected women in the study fully recovered. The research also showed that Covid-19 could hit some older pregnant women harder.
The Coronavirus Numbers
The U.S. set two records Wednesday with more than 3,600 deaths and more than 24,000 new infections. Here are the numbers from Friday at 8 a.m. ET from Johns Hopkins University:
- 75,075,064 Infected Worldwide
- 1,664,765 Deaths
- 17,213,887 Infected in the U.S.
- 310,792 Deaths in the U.S.
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Global markets are still waiting for the two big pre-Christmas deals.
Brexit talks have hit a roadblock just a few days before the deadline. The European Parliament set a Sunday deadline to see the text in order to ratify it before the year-end deadline.
Meanwhile, Congress is still bickering over Covid relief. Leaders say they will work into the weekend to hammer out a deal.
Nevertheless, U.S. markets set fresh record highs again yesterday. And European markets turned higher again this morning.
The German IFO business climate survey exceeded expectations. The IFO report noted that the confidence goes beyond manufacturers, with even services and wholesalers doing well.
The hard-hit U.K. shows how vaccines can boost consumer sentiment. U.K. consumer sentiment rebounded the most in 8 years, according to a survey this morning. Apparently, vaccines are already supporting confidence that things are getting back to normal.
I expect to see similar results here in the U.S. in the months ahead. This will give the stock market a further boost. As if it needed it.
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Yours in Health & Wealth,