Pfizer Nears Deal With Trump Administration to Provide More Vaccine Doses
By Sharon LaFraniere and Katie Thomas
- Dec. 22, 2020
The Trump administration and Pfizer are close to a deal under which the pharmaceutical company would bolster supply of its coronavirus vaccine for the United States by at least tens of millions of doses next year in exchange for a government directive giving it better access to manufacturing supplies, people familiar with the discussions said.
An agreement, which could be announced as early as Wednesday, would help the United States at least partly offset a looming vaccine shortage that could leave as many as 110 million adult Americans uncovered in the first half of 2021.
So far, only two pharmaceutical companies — Pfizer and Moderna — have won federal authorization for emergency distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, and most of what they are capable of producing for the next six months has already been allocated through contracts with the United States and other governments.
In the negotiations, the government is asking for 100 million additional doses from Pfizer from April through June. The company has signaled that it should be able to produce at least 70 million, and perhaps more, if it can get more access to supplies and raw materials.
WASHINGTON — The Trump administration announced Wednesday that it will buy an additional 100 million doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine, ensuring that every American who wants it can be vaccinated by June.
The announcement from the Department of Health and Human Services said that Pfizer will manufacture and deliver up to 100 million doses of the vaccine to government-designated locations. This comes on top of the 100 million doses already purchased by the U.S. government.
Under the agreement, Pfizer will deliver at least 70 million doses by the end of June and 30 million to be delivered by the end of July. This expands the total number of Pfizer vaccine doses purchased by the federal government to 200 million, HHS said.
“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,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement Wednesday. “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.”
The incoming Biden administration will be responsible, however, for disseminating the vaccine to the public next year, after Biden takes office Jan. 20.
A Mexican nurse has become the first person in Latin America to receive a coronavirus jab when her country began its vaccination programme on Thursday.
Mexico received an initial shipment of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines the previous day.
A short time later, Chile began administering the same vaccine, with Costa Rica to follow later on Thursday.
Mexico has one of the highest pandemic death tolls in the world, exceeded only by the US, Brazil and India.
Meanwhile, Argentina said on Wednesday it had approved the emergency use of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and a delivery of 300,000 doses arrived in Buenos Aires on Thursday morning.
In Mexico, María Irene Ramirez, 59, the head of the intensive care unit at Ruben Leñero Hospital in Mexico City, was the first to volunteer to be vaccinated.
The Irish government has authorised the use of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine.
The first delivery of the vaccine will be on 26 December with the first vaccinations taking place on 30 December, the health minister has said.
In a tweet, Stephen Donnelly said: “In what’s been such a tough year for so many, this is really great to see.”
The Republic of Ireland returns to stricter coronavirus restrictions on Christmas Eve until 12 January.
Under the new restrictions, restaurants and gastro pubs must close for indoor dining from Christmas Eve and are only permitted to offer takeaway or delivery services.
Hairdressers, nail bars, cinemas, galleries and museums must also close.
Authorisation of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine in the country comes at a time when coronavirus cases are rising significantly.