With coronavirus cases still rampant, the US buys more vaccines from Pfizer and BioNTech. Biotech partners Pfizer and BioNTech announced inking a second agreement with the US government to supply an additional 100 million doses. As this is on top of the previous order of 100 million, the total doses ordered by the US is now 200 million.
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Vaccinate All Americans by June 2021
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla hailed the new agreement. He said, “With these 100 million additional doses, the United States will be able to protect more individuals and hopefully end this devastating pandemic more quickly.” In addition, Pfizer looks forward “to continuing our work with the U.S. government and healthcare providers around the country.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar thinks that the new supply can fast track their target to vaccinate all Americans. “Securing more doses from Pfizer and BioNTech for delivery in the second quarter of 2021 further expands our supply of doses across the Operation Warp Speed portfolio,” he said. “This new federal purchase can give Americans even more confidence that we will have enough supply to vaccinate every American who wants it by June 2021,” he added.
Dr. Ugur Sahin, CEO of BioNTech notes that the new orders mean that the US trusts the efficacy of their COVID-19. “We regard the U.S. government’s order of additional doses from their vaccine contingent as a clear sign of confidence and trust in our vaccine and our ability to deliver. Our goal remains to bring a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to as many people as we can all around the world,” he said.
Schedule of Delivery
Similar to the earlier deal they struck in July 2020, the US will pay $1.95 billion for the 100 million doses. Per the agreement, Pfizer-BioNTech commits to deliver 70 million doses by end of June 2021, then deliver the remaining 30 million before the end of July. In addition, the US holds an option to buy up to 400 million more doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The HHS will continue to offer the COVID-19 vaccines for free for all US citizens. Given the limited supply for this year, medical frontliners and the elderly in nursing homes are given priority until stocks stabilize.
1 Million Americans Vaccinated
The United States is one of the countries hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. Tuesday recorded 3,401 deaths, the second-highest number of coronavirus-related deaths in the country. Meanwhile, hospitalizations are at an all-time high at 119,463. Health officials attribute the recent surge in cases to the recent Thanksgiving holidays. which spurred increased travel to meet family and friends.
Wednesday brought a better, more optimistic number. Currently, around 10 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines have arrived at various medical centers across the nation. The US recorded its one-millionth vaccine recipient in just ten days of deployment. CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield stated that “With cases of COVID-19 continuing to surge nationwide, this achievement comes at a critical time and will help to protect those on the frontlines — our healthcare providers treating COVID-19 patients — as well as our most vulnerable: elder individuals living in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.” As such, the HHS plans to continue the distribution of 20 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech, and newly approved Moderna vaccines until the remainder of the year.
New COVID-19 Strain Reported
As the US braces for even more cases as Christmas approaches, there are reports of a new COVID-19 strain from the UK. Plus, the mutated strain is reportedly up to 70% more transmissible than other variants. New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group chairman Peter Horby confirmed this. He said they “now have high confidence that this variant does have a transmission advantage” over other variants.
So far, the strain has yet to appear among the 51,000 sequenced cases out of 17 million coronavirus incidents. The CDC does think that hundreds of people in the US could be carrying the new UK coronavirus strain. As the US buys more vaccines, will the new strain waste the committed purchases? Fortunately, initial reports show that both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines are effective in preventing the UK variant as well.
Watch the CNBC news report on Pfizer BioNTech agreeing to supply the US government with 100 million more COVID-19 vaccines by July:
As the US buys more vaccines, do you see the eradication of the coronavirus by July 2021? Or, will things go from bad to worse while the virus mutates into different strains? Let us know what you think. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.