BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine has been called the second weapon against the pandemic, and it may be authorized by the FDA in just a few days.

University of Maryland School of Medicine Dr. Matthew Laurens is a Principal Investigator for the Phase 3 trial of the Moderna vaccine.

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“These vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna are virtually identical,” Dr. Laurens said.

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He said it appears to prevent COVID-19 just as well as Pfizer’s vaccine.

“The vaccines have been shown to prevent 95 percent of illness in individuals who are vaccinated over that short time period,” Dr. Laurens said. “We don’t know yet how long protection lasts, but this is far and above what we expected.”

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The vaccines need to be stored at different freezer temperatures but otherwise, it’s not all that different from Pfizer’s vaccine and one doesn’t prioritize over another.

Between 20 and 30 million doses of the vaccine are expected to be available by the end of the year.

Dr. Laurens said the take-home message from trial participants is to get vaccinated.

“In case they’re questioning whether or not they want to get the vaccine, they would completely advocate in order to protect against COVID-19,” he said.

Even after getting vaccinated, Dr. Laurens said people still need to practice social distancing and wear a mask.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.