U.S. health regulators have allowed Moderna Inc. to begin filling vials with more doses of its Covid-19 vaccine, one of a series of moves aimed at speeding production and administration of the shots.
The Food and Drug Administration authorized Moderna to begin shipping vials that contain up to 15 doses of its vaccine, up from the 10 doses per vial that the agency has allowed since authorizing the shot in December.
In addition, the FDA said it would allow vaccinators to extract an 11th dose from each of the older Moderna vials, the agency said late Thursday.
The FDA also allowed the Moderna vaccine to be kept at room temperature for 24 hours, up from the previously authorized 12 hours, Moderna said. A vial that has been punctured for administration may now be usable for up to 12 hours, versus six previously.
The changes should both increase the supplies and its availability to the public, said Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s division that oversees vaccines. “Ultimately, more vaccines getting to the public in a timely manner should help bring an end to the pandemic more rapidly,” he said.