Watch CBS News

Moderna says its combination COVID and flu vaccine tested better than separate shots

Moderna says combined COVID-19, flu shot shows positive results
Moderna says combined COVID-19, flu shot shows positive results 00:26

CAMBRIDGE - Moderna announced Monday that its combination COVID and flu vaccine showed positive results in a late-stage trial.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based biotech company said the mRNA-1083 vaccine produced a higher immune response in older adults than the separate shots that were co-administered in the study.

"Combination vaccines have the potential to reduce the burden of respiratory viruses on health systems and pharmacies, as well as offer people more convenient vaccination options that could improve compliance and provide stronger protection from seasonal illnesses," Moderna CEO Stephane Bancel said in a statement Monday. "Moderna is the only company with a positive Phase 3 flu and COVID combination vaccine.  

The Phase 3 trial involved two groups of about 4,000 adults each. One group consisted of adults between the 50 and 64 years old and the other was just for those above 65. In the older group, the combination vaccine was compared to a higher dose flu shot.

"In both age cohorts, mRNA-1083 also elicited statistically significantly higher immune responses against three influenza virus strains (H1N1, H3N2, and B/Victoria) and against SARS-CoV-2," Moderna reported.

The company said the trial showed the new combination vaccine has "an acceptable tolerability and safety profile." The most commonly reported side effects were injection site pain, fatigue, muscle pain and headaches. 

When will Moderna's combination COVID/flu vaccine be available?

Back in early 2022, Moderna said it was planning to have a combination COVID and flu vaccine ready by the fall of 2023. Many months later, it's still not clear when the public will have access to the shot.

Moderna said it "will engage with regulators on next steps" for its combination vaccine. In a letter to shareholders at the start of the year, Bancel said the intention is to have the combination vaccine ready as early as 2025.   

Is one shot better than two?

Speaking to CBS News last fall as Moderna prepared to begin the late-stage trial, Montclair State University public health professor Dr. Stephanie Navarro Silvera said a combination vaccine would be more appealing for people who don't like getting multiple shots. 

"Let's face it, nobody wants to get a shot more than once," she said. "So if we can combine two vaccines into one ... that's going to be a win in terms of public health."

Moderna's competitors are also working on a combination shot. Pfizer and BioNTech said last October that it was preparing a Phase 3 trial after getting "positive topline results" in earlier studies. And Novavax's website says a COVID and seasonal influenza vaccine is in the Phase 2 trial stage.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.