Pfizer and BioNTech, the companies that produced the first coronavirus vaccine to get emergency use authorization by the Food and Drug Administration, will supply the United States with an additional 100 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine.
The companies announced the deal Wednesday and said they expect to deliver all the doses by July 31. Pfizer already agreed to supply the U.S. government with 100 million doses of its vaccine, meaning it will produce 200 million shots. The new total will be enough to vaccinate 100 million people since each vaccine requires two doses.
“With these 100 million additional doses, the United States will be able to protect more individuals and hopefully end this devastating pandemic more quickly,” Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing our work with the U.S. government and healthcare providers around the country.”
The agreement stipulates that at least 70 million doses will be delivered by the end of June 2021, according to Reuters.
Pfizer’s vaccine was the first to gain approval from the FDA earlier this month, and initial shipments have already been distributed. More than 50,000 healthcare front-line workers received the first round of the two-part vaccine in the first week of its rollout, Bloomberg reported.
“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.”
A handful of government officials including Vice President Mike Pence, second lady Karen Pence, President-elect Joe Biden, first lady-elect Jill Biden, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi have all been given the vaccine. Some did it in a televised setting to encourage others that the vaccine is safe.
Moderna also developed a coronavirus vaccine and was granted emergency use authorization last week. Moderna struck a deal with the government for more than $3 billion to procure 200 million doses of its vaccine by June. The company intends to ship a total of 20 million doses by the end of the month, enough to fully immunize 10 million people.
The coronavirus has now infected over 17 million people in the United States, and more than 300,000 have died with their deaths attributed to the virus.