Moderna Inc's coronavirus vaccine on Friday became the second to receive emergency use authorisation (EUA) from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, welcome news to a nation with a staggering COVID-19 death toll of over 307,000 lives lost.

The FDA announced the authorisation the day after the agency's panel of outside experts endorsed its use.

The decision marks the first regulatory authorisation in the world for Moderna's vaccine and validation of its messenger RNA technology. It came less than a year after the first COVID-19 case was identified in the United States.

The biotech company has worked with the U.S. government to prepare for the distribution of 5.9 million shots as early as this weekend.