Pharmaceutical company Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) says it received “positive feedback” from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on its proposal to increase the number of COVID-19 vaccine doses in each of its vials.
One vial of Moderna’s two-shot vaccine contains 10 doses, enough to inoculate five people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Moderna had asked the FDA for permission to fill its COVID-19 vaccine vials with up to five additional doses to ease a bottleneck in manufacturing.
Moderna President Stephen Hoge says the FDA has given the company “positive feedback” on its proposal, and the company is pursuing a plan that may allow up to 15 doses to be drawn from a single vial.
The disclosure comes as President Joe Biden is trying to pick up the pace of vaccinations in the U.S. after a slower-than-expected rollout under former President Donald Trump, and states are complaining they don’t have enough doses.
Biden announced Feb. 11 that his administration secured deals with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Moderna for another 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, bringing the U.S. total to 600 million. Because both authorized vaccines require two doses given about three to four weeks apart, the total of 600 million doses would be enough to inoculate 300 million people.
It’s unclear if the increase of doses per vial is why Moderna now expects it can deliver 300 million doses of its vaccine by the end of July this year.