The U.S. intends to order enough Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for 50 million people, but the volume of COVID-19 vaccines the U.S. can procure could be limited until June 2021, according to the New York Times.
The cause of the potential shortfall stems from the Trump administration officials’ decision to pass on an offer from Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) to purchase an additional 500 million doses. As a result, Pfizer has commitments to other nations that could limit the volume it can provide the U.S.
At a recent rally in Georgia, President Trump touted his administration’s capacity to hasten mass vaccination. “Vaccines are on their way at a level that nobody ever thought possible,” he said. “It would’ve taken another administration five years. It took us seven months.”
Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, like many others intended to fight the pathogen, requires two doses.
The E.U. plans on purchasing 200 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine with an option to purchase an additional 100 million doses. Canada intends to purchase 76 million doses — enough to vaccinate the majority of its 38 million citizens. Administration of the vaccine could begin before the end of the month.
In the interim, President Trump is said to plan on signing an executive order to prioritize distributing vaccine doses domestically before sending them abroad.
Because Pfizer independently funded the R&D of the vaccine, an executive order intended to prioritize distribution of the vaccine in the U.S. would likely have little effect.
FDA will soon decide whether it will allow emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine.
The U.S. government has also purchased 100 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, and has contracts with Johnson & Johnson, Novavax and AstraZeneca.
U.S. government officials told Fox News that the Trump administration has invested “at risk” in the COVID-19 vaccine candidates that are part of the Operation Warp Speed program.
“We guaranteed the purchase of 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine before they had initiated phase three clinical trials,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told CNN. “They were not willing to give us a concrete date to commit to produce and deliver additional vaccines, so we secured a 500 million option for additional [doses].”
Filed Under: clinical trials, Drug Discovery, Infectious Disease