The first batch of the Moderna vaccine against the coronavirus arrived in Greece on Wednesday.
After its approval by EU regulators in early January, shipments of the Covid-19 vaccine, developed by the American biotech company Moderna, out of Cambridge, Massachusetts, have begun to arrive across Europe.
Greece received a total of 8,000 doses of the vaccine on Wednesday, adding to the country’s supply of inoculations from US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.
By the end of January, Greece is expected to receive a total of 20,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
According to current estimates, Greece will have a total of 240,000 vaccine doses in the early months of 2021.
After extensive research and testing, Moderna’s inoculation was proven to be extremely safe and over 94% effective in protecting people over the age of 18 from contracting the virus after they received two doses of the vaccine, 28 days apart.
The latest shipment of the Moderna vaccine pushes Greece one step closer to fulfilling its goal of inoculating two million people by the end of March, an objective stated by PM Mitsotakis in a television interview with journalist Nikos Hatzinikolaou on Tuesday evening.
Moderna vaccine vs. Pfizer-BioNTech
Both vaccines have been proven to be extremely safe and effective in preventing against the coronavirus after extensive trials.
Notably, the Moderna vaccine can be stored and distributed more easily than its counterpart developed by Pfizer-BioNTech, as it requires less frigid temperatures than the latter.
The Moderna vaccine can be stored at a temperature of -20C (-4F) for up to 6 months, and at 2 to 8C (35 to 46F), the temperature of a standard medical refrigerator, for up to 30 days.
However, the shot from Pfizer-BioNTech requires a frigid -70C (-94F) to be effective, and can only be kept in the freezer for five days.
Additionally, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine must be opened and diluted before use, and once diluted, is only usable for six hours.
The Pfizer-BioNTech inoculation, which was approved for use by EU regulators in December, has already been distributed across the EU.
Many countries have struggled with its storage, however, causing delays in administering the vaccine.