Moderna Covid-19 vaccine is 94.5% effective

Early data results have shown US company Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine is 94.5% effective.

The news comes a week after Pfizer/BioNTech announced results from their large-scale trials, in which they confirmed their vaccine was 90% effective.

Moderna said their vaccine was “generally well tolerated” and in the cases of any side effects the high majority were short-term and mild. 30,000 people took part in the phase 3 trial of the vaccine.

Stephen Bancel, Moderna CEO said:

This positive interim analysis from our Phase 3 study has given us the first clinical validation that our vaccine can prevent Covid-19 disease, including severe disease.

The Moderna vaccine is a messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccine which is the same as the one produced by Pfizer. However, the key difference between the two being Moderna’s vaccine can remain stable at normal refrigerator temperatures of 2 degress Celsius to 8 degree Celsius for a period of 30 days. Whereas Pfizer’s vaccine requires it to be stored in deep-freezing conditions of -70 degrees Celsius. This was causing a logistical headache for many countries over the past week.

The European Union is close to finalising a deal with Moderna regarding the acquisition of its new vaccine. This would take Covid-19 vaccine supplies in the EU over the two billion mark.

The Department of Health has confirmed Ireland will be allocated 1.1% of the European Union’s portfolio of vaccines.

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“Hand in white medical gloves holding tube with Covid-19 vaccine” by is licensed under CC BY 2.0

TikTok to create 200 new jobs in Ireland

The short-form video based app TikTok is expanding its Irish operations, hiring a further 200 people over the next three months.

It marks a significant rise in the number of people TikTok have employed in their Irish operations. At the start of the year they had only 20 people employed in Ireland. With a further 200 people being hired in the coming months, it will take TikTok’s Irish workforce to 1,100.

TikTok is an app that allows its users to create short videos with the add-ons of backing tracks and filters. The app has gained a huge audience since its launch four years ago, with around 800 million active users worldwide (Datareportal, 2020), putting it ahead of social media sites such as Twitter, Snapchat and Linkedin.

Ireland has also being designated by TikTok as the hub for its European SMB business. There was also a data privacy division added to its Dublin operations over the summer.

TikTok has also pledged to build a €420 million data centre in Ireland before the end of 2022. This would make Ireland the base for TikTok’s European user data. By basing this data centre in Ireland, it would in turn create hundreds of new jobs.

TikTok’s interim chief Vanessa Pappas said:

In less than a year, Ireland has rapidly become a vital centre for both our European and global operations.

Its strong pool of skilled and diverse talent, booming digital and technology sector, and rich heritage of arts and culture, make it such an attractive base for a platform that prides itself on being an inclusive home for creative expression.

The news of the 200 new jobs in Ireland was welcomed by Taoiseach Micheál Martin:

TikTok is an amazing success story, made even more remarkable by the short period of time in which it has been operational.

I welcome TikTok’s commitment to Ireland and its pledge to increase numbers to over 1,100 in 2021

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“TikTok” by Solen Feyissa is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Covid-19 vaccine is ‘90% effective’ confirms Pfizer/BioNTech

A working coronavirus vaccine finally looks in sight. Following an announcement from Pfizer/BioNTech which showed their large-scale trials of the vaccine was 90% effective.

The high percentage of effectiveness is even more compelling given regulators said they would approve a vaccine if it were just 50% effective. 90% effectiveness puts it beyond expectations and gives the world a strong glimmer of hope in its fight against coronavirus.

The company also said there were no serious side-effects detected with the vaccine.

Dr Albert Bourla, Pfizer chairman and CEO said:

Today is a great day for science and humanity. The first set of results from our phase 3 Covid-19 vaccine trial provides the initial evidence of our vaccine’s ability to prevent Covid-19.

We are reaching this critical milestone in our vaccine development program at a time when the world needs it most with infection rates setting new records, hospitals nearing over-capacity and economies struggling to reopen

The phase 3 trials of the vaccine have involved more than 43,000 people. The findings of the trials will no doubt excite public health officials and politicians alike and puts a potential end of the Covid-19 pandemic on the horizon.

Pfizer has plans to manufacture 100 million of these vaccines this year and 1.3 billion by the end 2021.

This news follows Pfzier’s announcement last week that they are investing a further 300m in its Irish operations, creating 300 new jobs in the process.

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Healthcare worker from Cavan performs on national stage

From the front line to centre stage, a healthcare worker from Co. Cavan has had her dreams come through as she got to perform with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra at the National Concert Hall.

Rebeca Sanchez, born in Seville Spain moved to Ireland in 2015 and is currently working in Oak View Nursing Home in Beltubert.

She was asked to perform by the RTÉ as they required a highly skilled flamenco dancer and singer.

Speaking about the moment she was asked to perform Rebeca said:

I was at work in the nursing home and somebody called me and said: ‘I am from RTÉ. Can you sing El amor brujo for us?’ And I was just silent and my husband had to ask me what had happened. And since then everything has happened so quickly. But it’s very, very exciting,

Prior to this she had never performed with a symphony orchestra before. She has received a large volume of good luck messages from residents and her fellow colleagues in Oak View Nursing Home.

Watch Rebeca in action here:

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