US buys ANOTHER 100 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine for $2.6 billion bringing its total stock from the firm to 200 million after the Trump administration turned down its chance to buy extra doses of Pfizer’s shot
- The US government exercised its option to buy another 100 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine for about $2.6 billion, to be delivered by June, on Friday
- Operation Warp Speed’s initial contract was for 100 million doses, with the option to buy more
- It comes the same night that the FDA is expected to approve Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use
- Pfizer will only ship 50 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine – half as many as the firm hoped – around the world before the end of the year
- Moderna has remained on track and is expected to ship 20 million doses of its vaccine this month, assuming it is approved after an FDA review on December 17
The U.S. government has purchased another 100 million doses of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine to be delivered by June, the firm announced on Friday.
Operation Warp Speed exercised an ‘option’ in its $1.5 billion deal with Moderna that allows it to secure more doses of the shot beyond the initial purchase of 100 million doses.
There are similar options written into the government’s contracts with other vaccine-makers, including Pfizer and AstraZeneca, but this is the first time it has used this option.
However, Pfizer approached the U.S. government with an offer for them to secure more doses of its vaccine, but the Trump administration declined, and there’s no longer a guarantee that more doses will be available as other countries, including the UK and Canada, snap them up.
In total, the U.S. is now entitled to 200 million doses of Moderna’s vaccine, bringing its total payment to the firm to $4.1 billion.
Meanwhile, the FDA is supposedly just hours – if not minutes – from giving emergency approval to Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, which will make it the first authorized vaccine in the U.S.
The US will get another 100 million of Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine after the federal government exercised its option to buy more of the shot on top of the 100 million in its original $1.5 billion deal with firm
But concerns over Pfizer’s vaccine supply chain have arisen. The company hoped to be able to ship 100 million doses of its vaccine by the end of the year.
Instead, it will only ship 50 million this month, including 2.9 million meant to got to every U.S. state within 24 hours of the FDA’s go-ahead, due to a supply chain issue.
Moderna confirmed last week that it was on track to meet its goal of shipping 20 million doses of its mRNA vaccine by year-end.
Pfizer’s vaccine also has to be stored at ultra-cold temperatures, which experts worry could pose distribution challenges and make it difficult to ship to or store in rural areas.
Shares for Moderna jumped nearly 2.5 percent in after hours trading.
FDA advisors will meet to decide whether or not it shot should get emergency approval on December 17. They’re expected to support emergency use authorization.
‘Securing another 100 million doses from Moderna by June 2021 further expands our supply of doses across the Operation Warp Speed portfolio of vaccines,’ said HHS Secretary Alex Azar.
‘This new federal purchase can give Americans even greater confidence we will have enough supply to vaccinate all Americans who want it by the second quarter of 2021.’
Moderna’s vaccine proved 94.5 percent effective in trials.
The firm applied for emergency use authorization – a form of FDA approval with a lower bar for safety and efficacy proof – on November 30.
It submitted its application 10 days after Pfizer did.
FDA regulators are expected to approve the application following the December 17 meeting. Some 12.5 million doses of the firm’s shot are slated to ship out once it is authorized.