Over 30,000 people across the country are taking part in this study, including about 250 in Pittsburgh.By Amy Wadas

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – As COVID cases continue to surge across the country and in southwest Pennsylvania, there’s promising news about a COVID-19 vaccine. Just last week, it was Pfizer. On Monday, Moderna announced that its shots provide strong protection against the virus.

The results from Moderna’s phase three trials are showing the vaccine is 94.5% effective.

“It does appear by the early signals that the vaccine is working for all types of people,” said Co-Director at the Pittsburgh Vaccine Trials Unit Dr. Judith Martin.

Dr. Judith Martin has been leading the charge in Pittsburgh. Over 30,000 people across the country are taking part in this study, with around 250 participants of all ages, gender and race here in Pittsburgh.

“We are comparing those who got it — from those who were in the group that got the candidate vaccine — to those who got the placebo vaccine,” said Dr. Martin.

Dr. Martin said there’s still more to do.

“We still need more safety data. It’s then, all of this data needs to be presented to the Food and Drug Administration before there’s any sort of determination about emergency use authorization or approval,” said Dr. Martin.

Then, it’s a matter of distribution.

“I think we will have more information in these upcoming weeks which will help determine a timeline much better,” said Dr. Martin.

When distribution happens, who gets it first?

“The first determination is likely going to be first responders and healthcare providers,” said Dr. Martin.

As far as the second round?

“The elderly, those in long-term care facilities as well as underlying medical conditions and then another important group will be essential workers,” said Dr. Martin.

Then, the rest of the population. Even then, Dr. Martin said masking up, social distancing and washing our hands will be part of our lives well into 2021.

One big difference between the Moderna and Pfizer vaccine: Moderna’s shots don’t need to be kept in bitter-cold temperatures, making it much easier to distribute.