The US government reached a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech to buy an additional 100 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine under a second agreement. The additional doses bring the total U.S. order to 200 million.
The drugmakers said Wednesday that they expect to deliver all the doses by July 31. They will receive nearly $2 billion for that deal as well.
“Securing more doses from Pfizer and BioNTech for delivery in the second quarter of 2021 further expands our supply of doses across the Operation Warp Speed portfolio,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “This new federal purchase can give Americans even more confidence that we will have enough supply to vaccinate every American who wants it by June 2021.”
“With these 100 million additional doses, the United States will be able to protect more individuals and hopefully end this devastating pandemic more quickly,” said Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer. “We look forward to continuing our work with the U.S. government and healthcare providers around the country.”
FDA first authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use earilier this month, and since then, they also authorized the use of Covid-19 vaccine from Moderna.
The vaccine from Pfizer and German pharmaceutical BioNTech immediately raised hopes of taming a pandemic that has killed nearly 320,000 people in the U.S. and hobbled much of the national economy. Health care workers and nursing home residents topped the list as local TV stations across the country began broadcasting scenes of the first vaccinations. Some polls show skepticism about getting vaccinated may be easing.
Moderna’s vaccine, which also requires two doses, comes under the umbrella of the government’s own effort, which is called Operation Warp Speed. That public-private endeavor was designed to have millions of vaccine doses ready and available to ship once a shot received FDA approval.
Operation Warp Speed is on track to have about 40 million doses of vaccine by the end of this month, of which about 20 million would be allocated for first vaccinations. Distribution of those doses would span into the first week of January. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots to be fully effective.
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