Extreme close-up photograph of fingers holding a tiny glass jar.
Enlarge / A nurse within the UK holds a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on December 22, 2020.

The Federal authorities has reached a cope with drugmaker Pfizer to safe an extra 100 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine earlier than the top of July, the corporate stated at this time.

Underneath the phrases of the brand new settlement, the federal government can pay $1.95 billion for the extra doses. Of the brand new vaccine doses, 70 million are due by June 30, with the remaining 30 million to be delivered no later than July 31. The settlement additionally gives US authorities with the choice to order as much as 400 million extra doses of the vaccine later.

Well being and Human Providers Secretary Alex Azar stated in an announcement that the extra Pfizer vaccine “may give People much more confidence that we are going to have sufficient provide to vaccinate each American who needs it by June 2021,” when added to the 100 million doses the US authorities has already agreed to buy from Pfizer, in addition to the not too long ago permitted Moderna vaccine.

The federal government has likewise ordered a complete 200 million doses of the Moderna vaccine, which is now additionally in use. Every vaccine requires every individual receiving it to get two doses, so 400 million whole doses is sufficient to immunize about 200 million individuals.

A rocky street

Pfizer initially provided the extra doses in its first spherical of talks with the US authorities in July, The New York Occasions was first to report. At the moment, the feds agreed to an preliminary order of 100 million doses however repeatedly declined to lock in an order for between 100 million and 500 million extra doses, “regardless of repeated warnings from Pfizer officers that demand may vastly outstrip provide.”

When US officers declined to make a dedication, Pfizer as an alternative reached agreements with different nations to promote the vaccines it may manufacture. To be able to attain the brand new cope with Pfizer to safe an extra 100 million doses within the first half of 2021, the federal government agreed to invoke the Protection Manufacturing Act to provide the corporate entry to specialised provides it must ramp up manufacturing, The New York Occasions reported.

The Meals and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine very late on Friday, December 11. Shipments of the vaccine to amenities nationwide started virtually instantly, and the primary immunizations of well being care staff had been underway on the next Monday morning.

Shortly after the primary wave of vaccines went out, nevertheless, distribution hit bumps. Greater than a dozen states discovered they’d be receiving considerably fewer doses than anticipated—half or much less of the anticipated quantity—within the second week of vaccine distribution. States, naturally, requested the feds, and HHS’s Azar recognized the “core situation” as “Pfizer’s skill to fabricate” vaccine quick sufficient round “manufacturing challenges.”

Nevertheless, Pfizer in an announcement pointed a finger squarely on the US federal authorities for the snafu.

“Pfizer will not be having any manufacturing points with our COVID-19 vaccine, and no shipments containing the vaccine are on maintain or delayed,” the corporate stated on December 17. “This week, we efficiently shipped all 2.9 million doses that we had been requested to ship by the U.S. Authorities to the places specified by them. We’ve got hundreds of thousands extra doses sitting in our warehouse however, as of now, we have now not acquired any cargo directions for extra doses.”

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