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Moderna's Covid-19 vaccine developed with help from clinical trials in Baton Rouge

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BATON ROUGE - The Moderna vaccine underwent several clinical trials in the Capital City and is more than 94 percent effective at keeping Covid-19 from infecting people.

The FDA approved it for emergency use Friday evening.

Scientists are seeing promising data from Baton Rouge. Results from the Moderna vaccine trials suggest the fight against COVID is ramping up quickly.

Doctor Jordan Whatley is spear-heading the vaccine trials in the Capital City. He calls this effort "historic."

"I think it's a useful tool as well as with the Pfizer vaccine for us to start developing herd immunity," Whatley said.

Since July, at least three-hundred volunteers took the vaccine or a placebo at the Dermatology Clinic in Baton Rouge.

"Half have gotten the vaccine, half have gotten the saline. Now we're following up over a two-year period to see how long does the vaccine lasts," said Dr. Whatley.

In the Phase Three trials, researchers are observing the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine against COVID-19. They're also collecting data that includes any known side effects.

"In the 30,000 individuals that have been studied for the past five months, there's been no side effects that would be considered outside the norm of a regular vaccine," Whatley said.

The Moderna vaccine itself may have only taken months, but much of that is based on systems and technology decades in the making.

"We know that it's at least protective for three months, but that's another part of the study. The study's for individuals to continue this process for at least two years."

Moderna's ready to start shipping vaccines within the week.

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