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The Biden Administration Is Working To Buy 200 Million More COVID-19 Vaccine Doses

   January 27, 2021 7:14 AM
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by Benjamin Swasey

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PANDEMIC Vaccines
 
President Biden announced Tuesday that his administration is working to purchase an additional 200 million doses of the two COVID-19 vaccines that have been authorized for emergency use, with the goal, the White House says, of having enough vaccine supply for the entire adult U.S. population by the end of the summer.

He also announced steps to increase vaccine doses going to state and local governments over the next three weeks, and to provide them more clarity going forward about how much supply they should expect.

Longer term, Biden said his administration plans to buy an additional 100 million doses each from both Moderna and Pfizer, which has a vaccine with its German counterpart, BioNTech.

"This increases the total vaccine order for the U.S. by 50%, from 400 million to 600 million with these additional doses expected to deliver this summer," the White House said in a fact sheet. The Trump administration had secured contracts with the two companies for the already-pledged 400 million doses.

Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require a two-dose regimen per person. The Moderna vaccine is currently authorized for people 18 and older, while the Pfizer vaccine right now is recommended for people 16 and up.

An NPR analysis last week found that the two drugmakers needed to increase their pace of production to meet their original promises of 100 million doses apiece delivered to the United States by the end of March. Moderna said it was on track to hit its mark, while Pfizer didn't respond to NPR's request for comment.

Biden's announcement about the expected additional supply comes nearly a week into his presidency, and as he has repeated that the vaccine rollout — to help alleviate the coronavirus pandemic and to put unemployed Americans back to work — is his top priority. More than 420,000 Americans are confirmed to have died from COVID-19 — a figure that's likely a severe undercount.

Biden has said his goal is to get 100 million shots into arms in the first 100 days of his administration, a figure that was in line with earlier trends and has been called too low by many experts. Speaking Monday, Biden threw out a higher figure he'd like to see: 150 million shots.

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