Sun. Oct 2nd, 2022
Extreme close up shot of fingers holding a small glass jar.
enlarge A nurse in the UK is holding a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on December 22, 2020.

The federal government has signed a deal with drug maker Pfizer to secure an additional 100 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by the end of July, the company said today.

Under the terms of the new agreement, the government will pay $1.95 billion for the additional doses. Of the new vaccine doses, 70 million must be delivered by June 30, and the remaining 30 million must be delivered by July 31. The agreement also allows US authorities to order up to 400 million additional doses of vaccine at a later date.

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement that the additional Pfizer vaccine “could give Americans even more confidence that we will have enough supplies to vaccinate every American who wants it by June 2021,” when added to the list. 100 million doses that the US government has already agreed to purchase from Pfizer, as well as the recently approved Moderna vaccine.

The government has also ordered a total of 200 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, which is now also in use. Each vaccine requires each person who receives it to receive two doses, so 400 million total doses are enough to immunize about 200 million people.

A rocky road

Pfizer initially offered the additional doses in its first round of talks with the US government in July, The New York Times was the first to report. At the time, the FBI agreed to an initial order of 100 million doses, but repeatedly refused to put in an order for between 100 million and 500 million additional doses, “despite repeated warnings from Pfizer officials that questioning the could vastly exceed supply.”

When US officials refused to make any commitments, Pfizer instead entered into agreements with other countries to sell the vaccines it could produce. To reach the new deal with Pfizer to secure an additional 100 million doses by the first half of 2021, the government agreed to invoke the Defense Production Act to give the company access to specialized supplies it needs. has to increase production. Times reported.

The Food and Drug Administration granted very late approval for the use of the Pfizer vaccine on Friday, December 11. Shipments of the vaccine to facilities across the country began almost immediately, and the first immunizations of health professionals were underway the following Monday morning.

Shortly after the first wave of vaccines went out, however, distribution hit a snag. More than a dozen states found that in the second week of vaccine distribution, they would receive significantly fewer doses than expected — half or less of the expected volume. States, of course, asked the FBI, and HHS’s Azar identified the “core problem” as “Pfizer’s ability to produce” vaccine quickly enough around “production challenges.”

However, Pfizer pointed the finger at the US federal government for the snafu in a statement.

“Pfizer has no manufacturing issues with our COVID-19 vaccine and no shipments of the vaccine have been suspended or delayed,” the company said on Dec. 17. “This week we successfully shipped all 2.9 million doses that we were asked to ship by the US government to their specified locations. We still have millions of doses in our warehouse, but so far we have not received any shipping instructions. for additional doses.”

By akfire1

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