The U.S. secured an additional 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccine, ensuring that the US will have enough COVID-19 vaccines by July 2021. President Joe Biden, speaking at the National Institutes of Health, announced Thursday that the purchase will increase the US vaccine supply by 50% to 600 million doses. “We have to stay vigilant, we have to stay focused and for God’s sake, we have to remember who we are,” Biden said. He said that the country can do this. “We are the United States of America,” the president added.
Enough COVID-19 Vaccines
The president announced that pharmaceutical companies are stepping up on the delivery timelines. For example, an earlier 100 million vaccines committed by the end of June will now arrive by the end of May. Biden said the administration secured enough doses from suppliers Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech that they can vaccinate every American by the end of July. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the federal government paid around $2 billion to Pfizer for additional doses, and $1.65 billion to Moderna. The US will have enough COVID-19 vaccines to inoculate the American population twice over.
However, the additional extra doses order won’t be immediately available. The current supply issues are still there. Instead, the extra 200 million doses will act as a buffer when initial supplies run out.
Biden Blames Trump
Also, Biden delivered scathing remarks aimed at former President Donald Trump, saying he didn’t do enough to plan for the vaccination rollout. “My predecessor, to be very blunt about it, did not do his job in getting ready for the massive challenge of vaccinating hundreds of millions of Americans,” Biden said. “It’s no secret that the vaccination program was in much worse shape than my team and I anticipated,” he added.
The Trump administration did secure 400 million doses during the earlier stages of the pandemic. Under Operation Warp Speed, the federal government managed to secure commitments of vaccines under development. Once they receive an FDA Emergency Use Authorization, the US gets priority batches. However, the Trump White House received criticisms for not arranging the distribution to individual states. The administration delegated the part where Americans receive the vaccines to the individual states. “When I became president three weeks ago, America had no plan to vaccinate most of the country. It was a big mess. It is going to take time to fix, to be blunt with you,” Biden said.
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Increasing Pace Of Deliveries
States and federal officials argued over who should shoulder the last stage of deliveries. Despite the complaints. states averaged near 900,000 vaccinations a day. Now, the pace increased to 1.5 million inoculations a day per state.
In addition, more vaccines from a third supplier might arrive soon. Johnson & Johnson applied for a EUA for their coronavirus vaccine. The FDA will review the candidate vaccine this month. The J&J version requires a single dose, compared to earlier vaccines that need two doses two weeks apart. This will help improve delivery rates. Moreover, the J&J vaccine requires easier storage. Currently, the US government has a standing 100 million doses contract. The company says they can supply the entire order by midyear. In addition, two other pharma companies, AstraZeneca PLC and Novavax Inc. are on deck to supply an additional 400 million doses once they get clearance.
33 Million First Doses
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that at present, the government already managed to issue 33 million first doses. In addition, more than 10 million people had been fully vaccinated.
Watch the PBS NewsHour video where President Joe Biden announces the purchase of an additional 200 million vaccine doses:
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