The US government is close to an agreement to purchase tens of millions of additional doses of Pfizer vaccine in exchange for helping the pharmaceutical giant have better access to production supplies.
A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Tuesday that the deal was under discussion and could be finalized soon. The person spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the ongoing deliberations.
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The Pfizer vaccine was the first to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, and initial deliveries were shipped to the states last week. He was now joined by a vaccine from Moderna, which was developed in closer collaboration with scientists at the National Institutes of Health.
The Modern Vaccine is under the umbrella of the government’s own effort, called Operation Warp Speed. This public-private effort was designed to have millions of doses of the vaccine ready and available for shipment once a blow has received FDA approval.
But another deal with Pfizer would move the nation closer to the goal of vaccinating all Americans.
A law dating back to the Korean War gives the government authority to direct private companies to produce critical goods in times of national emergency. Named the Defense Production Act, it is expected to be relied upon to help Pfizer provide some of the raw materials needed for its vaccine.
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Pfizer already has a contract to provide the government with 100 million doses of vaccine as part of Operation Warp Speed, but government officials said it was more of a long-term relationship with the company and that they did not have as much visibility on its operations. .
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said last week that the government was negotiating with Pfizer for more doses, but details provided on Tuesday about the company’s desire to have better access to supply are new.
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Earlier, US officials said they were discussing the purchase of another 100 million doses of Pfizer vaccine for delivery by mid-next year. These details and timing may have changed.
Pfizer said in a statement that “we continue to work with the US government to obtain COVID-19 vaccine doses to as many Americans as possible. The company is not able to comment on any confidential discussions that may take place with the US government. “
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The Pfizer vaccine and German pharmacist BioNTech immediately raised hopes of easing a pandemic that killed nearly 320,000 people in the United States and hampered much of the national economy. Healthcare workers and nursing home residents took the lead as local TV stations across the country began airing scenes of the first vaccinations. Some polls show that skepticism about vaccination may be easier.
After early failures with testing, Trump administration officials hope to write a very different ending with vaccines. Operation Warp Speed funded the development, manufacture and distribution of millions of doses, with the goal of providing a free vaccine to anyone who wants one.
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Operation Warp Speed is set to receive about 40 million doses of vaccine by the end of this month, of which about 20 million would be allocated for the first vaccinations. The distribution of these doses will extend into the first week of January. Both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two photos to be fully effective.
The New York Times first reported new details of negotiations between Pfizer and the Trump administration