U.S. government agrees to purchase 100 million additional Pfizer vaccines

The Department of Health and Human Services with the Department of Defense today announced they will purchase another 100 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Officials are confident that this deal will ensure that there are enough vaccines available for every American who wants one by June 2021, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said.

Under the agreement, Pfizer will manufacture and distribute the 100 million doses to government-designated locations. At least 70 million doses will be delivered by the end of June 2021, with the remaining doses to be delivered by the end of July.

The federal government and Pfizer’s agreement includes the option to purchase an additional 400 million doses of the vaccine as a part of “ongoing coordination” between the two, HHS said.

WHY THIS MATTERS

With these additional doses, HHS says it will be able to seamlessly transition from the first 100 million doses it procured earlier this year. It’s a part of the government’s larger strategy to provide continued availability of a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to all Americans.

The federal government has now purchased 200 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

The vaccine is being provided at no cost to Americans and the administration costs will be covered by either private insurance, Medicare or Medicaid, or HHS’ program to cover COVID-19 costs for the uninsured using provider relief funds.

THE LARGER TREND

Earlier this month reports from the New York Times, The Associated Press and comments from Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration and a member of Pfizer’s board of directors, came out that the Trump administration declined “multiple” opportunities to secure additional doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

HHS did take the opportunity to purchase an additional 100 million doses of the Moderna vaccine last week.

So far, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are the only two to receive emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration.

Just this week, nearly 8 million doses of the two vaccines were distributed across the country. By the end of next week, 11 million doses will be distributed to the American people, officials said. By the end of the year, an estimated 20 million doses will be allocated.

Meanwhile, Operation Warp Speed has begun working with jurisdictions on the delivery of the second dose of vaccines, according to General Gustave Perna, the chief operating officer for Operation Warp Speed.

“We’ve established an elaborate communication strategy at all levels to make sure everybody’s tracking this,” he said during a press call Wednesday. “We know how to do this. America knows how to do this. We’ve done second doses before.”

ON THE RECORD

“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.”

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