The United States Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Defense (DoD) will purchase another 100 million doses each of the COVID-19 vaccines offered by Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc. by the end of July.
President Joe Biden announced the deals last week, in a speech delivered at the National Institutes of Health.
“We’ve now purchased enough vaccine supplies to vaccinate all Americans,” Biden said. “Now we’re working to get those vaccines into the arms of millions of people.”
The new orders put total U.S. government purchases from the companies to 600 million doses. As proper vaccination requires two doses of these vaccines, it’s enough to vaccinate 300 million people. According to Biden, both Pfizer and Moderna plan to deliver 300 million doses in regular increments through the end of July and have agreed to hasten the delivery of 100 million doses each by a month to May.
Domestic manufacturing capacity will be used to fill, finish, and ship vials for the bulk material in both cases. The new doses will also net Pfizer another approximately $2 billion from the government and another $1.65 billion for Moderna.
“As the President directed, we are expanding our supply of COVID vaccines to protect people as quickly as possible,” Acting HHS Secretary Norris Cochran said. “These purchases will allow us to accelerate our vaccination efforts to get shots into the arms of the American people. While we rapidly ramp up the pace of vaccinations, I encourage everyone to take actions now to protect themselves and their families: wear a mask, wash your hands often, and practice physical distancing.”
Both vaccines continue to be made available to the public at no cost. Manufacturing began even as clinical trials were pursued last year, given the massive scaling task required. While both provided positive results at the trials’ end, additional studies are ongoing to determine their efficacy in younger populations, along with the duration of vaccination immunity and the impact of vaccination on the transmissibility of SARS-CoV-2.