President Biden announced Tuesday evening that the United States is aiming to purchase an additional 200 million does of COVID-19 vaccines. Securing these supplemental doses would be enough to inoculate most Americans by the end of the summer. The Biden Administration will purchase 100 million doses of each of the two current vaccines on the market, the Moderna vaccine and the vaccine created by Pfizer and BioNTech. This will be an overall increase to 600 million doses obtained by the United States.
The agreement between the Biden administration and the two pharmaceutical companies would lessen the United States’ reliance on getting additional doses to the market from other manufacturers. The previous administration declined from purchasing more doses from Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna early on and instead hoped that vaccines from Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca would come to market sooner.
Johnson & Johnson is set to release data from their clinical trial by the end of January with Dr. Anthony Fauci stating that they are “right around the corner” from seeking emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however the current White House administration are handling things differently. A Senior Administration official stated, “We can’t speak to the Trump administration, but what we can say is it is our philosophy, given the nature of this emergency and the speed with which the virus needs to be addressed, to procure enough supply as we need to vaccinate Americans and to give Americans, the confidence we can do that.”
President Biden has made the pandemic his top priority since he took office. He has pledged to administer 100 million shots in his first 100 days in office, in addition to imploring Congress to pass his proposed $1.3 trillion pandemic relief bill. Biden stated that he hopes that vaccinations are accelerated enough that by summer the United States has a surplus.