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U.S. inks additional deal with Pfizer

Posted December. 24, 2020 07:28,   

Updated December. 24, 2020 07:28


The U.S. has already acquired over 900 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, and is expected to purchase additional 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine. The deals with Pfizer and Moderna would give the U.S. enough vaccine doses to reach herd immunity by the first half of next year. The U.S. is currently in the process of reviewing the approval of other vaccines. Meanwhile, India is considering giving a nod to the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine while Europe is reviewing the approval of the Moderna vaccine. Countries around the world are making every effort to secure as much vaccine as possible amid rising uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19, such as the emergence of a new COVID-19 variant.

The New York Times on Tuesday (local time) reported that Pfizer is nearing a deal with the Donald Trump administration to provide more vaccine. The Trump administration reportedly asked Pfizer to sell 100 million additional doses between April and June next year and Pfizer said it should be able to produce at least 70 million doses.

The U.S. has already acquired over 900 million doses in total from pharmaceutical companies, such as Pfizer (100 million doses), Moderna (200 million doses), Oxford-AstraZeneca (300 million doses), and Johnson & Johnson (100 million doses).

A total of 300 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which were cleared by U.S. regulators, will be shipped to the U.S. by June next year. If the U.S. reaches an agreement with Pfizer to buy another 100 million doses, it will have 400 million doses of vaccines in total from the two pharmaceutical companies. It is a large enough amount to inoculate 200 million Americans, considering that the COVID-19 vaccines require two shots per person.

The U.S. is expected to activate the Defense Production Act (DPA) for additional supply contracts with Pfizer. The DPA is a federal law enacted to expedite the supply of goods that are deemed necessary to promote the national defense by directing and supporting private companies to prioritize orders from the government.

The Trump administration is considering invoking the DPA to help Pfizer secure components necessary to produce the COVID-19 vaccine. The DPA, which was enacted during the Korean War, was activated in April to boost the production of face masks and ventilators amid the spread of COVID-19. During the “Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Summit” at the White House on Dec. 9, President Trump said he will activate the DPA if there is a problem with the supply of vaccines for Americans.

Jae-Dong Yu jarrett@donga.com