Health

Head of Operation Warp Speed says US is trying to secure more doses of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine

The head of Operation Warp Speed says the U.S. government is currently in talks to purchase more doses of Pfizer Inc’s coronavirus vaccine for Americans.

Currently, the U.S. has plans to receive 100 million doses of the vaccines – enough to inoculate 50 million people – from the New York-based drug company.

However, a recent report revealed the Trump administration turned down offers from to purchase additional doses this summer.  

But in a briefing on Monday, Dr Moncef SlaouI, who leads the government’s plan to fast-track the production of millions of vaccine doses, says officials are in ‘active discussions’ with Pfizer to expand the number of doses available to Americans.

It comes as a New York ICU nurse became the first person in the U.S. to receive Pfizer’s immunization, with around 2.9 million frontline healthcare workers and long-term care residents soon to follow.

Dr Moncef Slaoui said on Monday the U.S. is ‘in active discussions’ with Pfizer Inc to secure more doses of the company’s coronavirus vaccine (above)

In July, the government signed an agreement with Pfizer to make 100 million doses available to Americans Pictured: The first patient enrolled in Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, receives an injection, May 4

In July, the government signed an agreement with Pfizer to make 100 million doses available to Americans Pictured: The first patient enrolled in Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine clinical trial at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, receives an injection, May 4

The development of Pfizer’s vaccine shatters all previous shot production timelines in the U.S., usually running closer to a decade than one year.

However, it wasn’t all smooth sailing, with supply chain issues forcing the firm to scale back its hopeful 2020 global production from 100 million to 50 million.

Pfizer plans to make up that shortfall in 2021, but the Trump administration allegedly turned down offers from the company to purchase more than the 100 million doses of its shot included in the initial vaccine deal.

Now, the government is once more trying to negotiate the purchase of another 100 million doses of the 95 percent effective shot, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla told CNN, in an effort to get as many Americans vaccinated as quickly as possible.

‘The U.S. government is asking for more,’ he sad.

‘They have asked now for an additional 100 million doses from us. We can provide them – the additional 100 million doses – but right now, most of that we can provide in the third quarter.

‘The U.S. government wants them in the second quarter.’

Bourla told CNN that Pfizer is working with the U.S. government on a solution to get Americans the extra does, but ‘we haven’t signed the agreement yet.’

Despite his uncertainty over whether Pfizer could make a vaccine before the end of the year, and the hitches in that process so far, Bourla now says he’s ‘confident’ and optimistic’ about supplying the world with COVID-19 vaccines over the coming year.

Pfizer plans to distribute 1.3 billion doses worldwide next year.

The $1.95 billion contract Pfizer signed with the U.S. in July guarantees Americans 100 million doses of the firm’s shot, with the option to buy more doses down the line.

But the U.S. has to exercise that option before the doses are guaranteed to Americans.

The New York Times reported last week that the Trump Administration had been offered the chances to purchase more of the vaccine, but had declined.

Pfizer board member and former FDA Commissioner Dr Scott Gottlieb reiterated this allegation, saying the company approached the government twice.

And now it may be too late for the federal government to get doses for until June or July, officials told The Washington Post last week.

Pfizer has agreements to sell millions of doses of its vaccine to many other countries, including the U.K. and the European Union.

U.S. officials have claimed they are unconcerned about supplying enough vaccine for Americans because Operation Warp Speed has multiple partnerships with other companies. 

On Friday, the U.S. exercised its first option to acquire additional doses of coronavirus vaccines, signing a deal worth an estimated $2.6 billion with Moderna for another 100 million doses of its vaccine by June. 

During the HHS briefing, White House Operation Warp Speed COO General Gustave Perna said just under six million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine will be shipped in first wave once approved. 




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