WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The U.S. government has struck a deal to acquire tens of millions of additional doses of Pfizer's vaccine in exchange for helping the pharmaceutical giant gain better access to manufacturing supplies, according to a statement from the drug maker.
The additional doses bring the total U.S. order to 200 million, Pfizer officials said Wednesday. The United States will pay the drug maker $1.95 billion for the additional doses. All 200 million doses are expected to be delivered by July, 2021.
"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," said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. "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."
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.
"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 Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer. "We look forward to continuing our work with the U.S. government and healthcare providers around the country."
Another vaccine from drug maker Moderna 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.
Wednesday's deal with Pfizer moves the nation closer to the goal of vaccinating all Americans.
The vaccine from Pfizer and German pharmaceutical BioNTech immediately raised hopes of taming a pandemic that has killed nearly 320,000 people in the U.S. and hobbled much of the national economy. Health care workers and nursing home residents topped the list as local TV stations across the country began broadcasting scenes of the first vaccinations. Some polls show skepticism about getting vaccinated may be easing.
After early failures with testing, Trump administration officials are hoping to write a very different ending with vaccines. Operation Warp Speed has financed the development, manufacture and distribution of millions of doses, with the goal of providing a free vaccine to any American who wants one.
Operation Warp Speed is on track to have about 40 million doses of vaccine by the end of this month, of which about 20 million would be allocated for first vaccinations. Distribution of those doses would span into the first week of January. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two shots to be fully effective.
The New York Times first reported the new details of negotiations between Pfizer and the Trump administration.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.