Moderna to Offer Its Covid-19 Vaccine to Workers, Contractors and Board

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Moderna Inc.


MRNA 2.68%

said Tuesday it will offer its new Covid-19 vaccine to its own employees, contractors and board members in a move the company said would provide an additional layer of protection to workers involved in making and delivering the vaccine.

The Cambridge, Mass., company, which has about 1,200 employees, said the small quantities of vaccine needed for the program are separate from the millions of doses Moderna has committed to the U.S. government.

Moderna has said it expects to provide about 20 million doses for use in the U.S. by the end of this month, and a total of about 200 million by the middle of 2021. The federal government has purchased the doses and is overseeing their distribution.

Immunizations using Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine started earlier this month. WSJ’s Betsy McKay reports on how injections are being distributed. Photo: Paul Sancya/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

The company’s new policy would appear to allow the vaccination of some people who aren’t in the high-priority groups identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has said the first people who should receive the limited initial supply of available vaccine doses are health-care workers and residents of long-term-care facilities, followed later by people 75 years and older and certain essential workers such as police officers and manufacturing workers.

The CDC didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

A Moderna spokesman said the policy would help assure “ongoing operations and vaccine production in the face of a pandemic.” He said that due to Moderna’s size, “we have critical staff in all parts of our organization responding to the pandemic.”

Pfizer Inc.,

which had about 88,000 employees globally as of February, is taking a different approach with the vaccine it produces with partner

BioNTech SE.

It plans to vaccinate employees as they become eligible per CDC guidelines, with the first group expected to be the company’s essential workers, including those in manufacturing roles, a company spokeswoman said. The company has “no plans to prioritize the vaccination of our executives or board members ahead of other high-risk groups,” the spokeswoman said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration authorized emergency use of Moderna’s vaccine in adults this month after a large study showed it was highly effective against the Covid-19 disease. Millions of doses have been distributed so far to sites around the U.S. Last week federal health officials including

Dr. Anthony Fauci

received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine.

The company said that under its new policy it would also vaccinate adult members of its workers’ households to reduce the risk of absenteeism and disruption because of a Covid-19 infection of a family member. The company is making vaccinations voluntary and confidential and is covering the costs.

Moderna said that it notified appropriate health authorities about the program and that it will monitor and report information about the vaccinations as required under the FDA’s authorization.

Moderna officials have previously said they have taken steps to mitigate the risk of the virus to workers, including requiring personal protective equipment for people who must work in its facilities, and having some employees work from home.

Write to Peter Loftus at [email protected]

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