What We’re Reading: Moderna Flu Vaccine; Black Maternal Health Week; EU Ending COVID-19 Vaccine Contracts

April 14, 2021
AJMC Staff

Moderna announces upcoming trial of a vaccine candidate against flu; April 11-17 marks Black Maternal Health Week; the European Commission will not renew COVID-19 vaccine contracts with Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca when they expire next year.

Moderna to Commence Flu Vaccine Trial

On the heels of its successful mRNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna announced today that it will begin a phase 1 clinical trial later this year to investigate its flu vaccine candidate, mRNA-1010. This marks a first foray into the flu vaccine space for Moderna, which will also be evaluating several multiantigen formulations against 3 other seasonal viruses as part of this program: SARS-CoV-2, respiratory syncytial virus, and human metapneumovirus. According to the CDC, the flu is responsible for approximately 140,000 to 810,000 annual hospitalizations.

Black Maternal Health Week Highlighted

April 11-17 marks Black Maternal Health Week each year, and this year the White House issued its first-ever proclamation, hoping to bring greater awareness to the higher mortality rates among Black mothers, who die from pregnancy-related complications 2 to 3 times more often than White, Hispanic, Asian American, and Pacific Islander women. In the proclamation, President Joe Biden promotes breaking down the health care access disparities that minorities often face and highlights how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the lack of universal quality, affordable, and equitable care.

J&J, AZ Vaccine Contracts to End in 2022

Choosing instead to focus on the vaccines from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna, the European Commission (EC) announced today that it will not be renewing the current COVID-19 vaccine contracts it has with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and AstraZeneca (AZ), Reuters is reporting. EC President Ursula von der Leyen also announced ongoing discussions with Pfizer/BioNTech to acquire 1.8 billion vaccine doses; the EC also has inquiries into J&J on its delayed vaccine deliveries.