Pfizer and BioNTech will supply the US with an additional 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine under a new agreement.
The drugmakers said Wednesday that they expect to deliver all the doses by July 31.
Pfizer already had a contract to supply the government with 100 million doses of its vaccine, and the latest agreement will double that.
The companies will deliver at least 70 million of the additional doses by June 30, with the remaining 30 million doses to be delivered no later than July 31. The government also has the option to acquire up to an additional 400 million doses.
The US will acquire the second round of Covid-19 vaccine doses for $2 billion, Pfizer said Wednesday.
“With these 100 million additional doses, the United States will be able to protect more individuals and hopefully end this devastating pandemic more quickly,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. “We look forward to continuing our work with the US government and healthcare providers around the country.”
Pfizer’s vaccine was the first to gain approval from the Food and Drug Administration and initial shipments went to states last week. It has now been joined by a vaccine from Moderna, which was developed in closer cooperation with scientists from the National Institutes of Health.
Moderna’s vaccine comes under the umbrella of the government’s own effort, which is called Operation Warp Speed. That public-private endeavor was designed to have millions of vaccine doses ready and available to ship once a shot received FDA approval.
The deal with Pfizer moves the nation closer to the goal of vaccinating all Americans.
A law dating back to the Korean War gives the government authority to direct private companies to produce critical goods in times of national emergency. Called the Defense Production Act, it’s expected to be invoked to help Pfizer secure some raw materials needed for its vaccine.
Pfizer already had a contract to supply the government with 100 million doses of its vaccine under Operation Warp Speed, but government officials have said it’s more of an arms-length relationship with the company and they don’t have as much visibility into its operations.
The vaccine from Pfizer and German pharmaceutical BioNTech immediately raised hopes of taming a pandemic that has killed nearly 320,000 people in the US and hobbled much of the national economy.