By Jamie Gumbrecht and Kristen Holmes | CNN
The Trump administration will purchase an additional 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer, the US Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday.
Pfizer will deliver at least 70 million doses by June 30, and the rest will be delivered no later than July 31, according to a news release.
With this agreement, the federal government will have purchased 200 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine for $4 billion. The vaccine is 95% effective against the coronavirus after two doses given a few weeks apart.
The agreement includes an option for an additional 400 million doses of the vaccine, HHS said. Pfizer said the US government will pay $1.95 billion for the additional 100 million doses.
Last week, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said negotiations to purchase more coronavirus vaccine were complicated by Pfizer supply chain issues that will make it more challenging for the company to produce 100 million more vaccine doses in the spring. Pfizer had been seeking help from OWS to secure crucial materials in order to deliver the vaccine on an expedited timeline.
On Wednesday, an HHS spokesperson told CNN in a statement the Trump administration is using its authorities under the Defense Production Act to “prioritize access to the critical materials and supplies necessary to expand vaccine production.”
The statement says Operation Warp Speed is using “selective application of DPA authorities” to facilitate production of the six vaccines it is supporting, including the Pfizer vaccine.
The Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine was the first to receive an emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration. Hundreds of thousands of doses of the vaccine have been administered since last week.
The Trump administration faced criticism after the New York Times reported that the US government had failed to secure an additional 100 million doses when Pfizer offered that option over the summer. The administration has denied the reports that it turned down this offer from Pfizer.
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