Pfizer and the Trump administration are reportedly close to agreeing 70 million extra vaccine doses for next year to plug a potentially massive shortfall in the US

Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump.

  • Pfizer is nearing a deal with the US government to deliver tens of millions more doses of its vaccine in 2021, people with knowledge of the matter told The New York Times.
  • In exchange, the government would grant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech better access to manufacturing supplies for the vaccine, the people said.
  • The deal could be announced as early as Wednesday, the Times reported.
  • The US ordered 100 million doses of Pfizer’s two-shot vaccine in July, but declined an additional agreement to buy more. Instead, it looked to make agreements with other manufacturers.
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Pfizer is reportedly close to striking a deal with the Trump administration to supply tens of million more doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the US in 2021, people familiar with the discussions told The New York Times Tuesday.

The US government wants 100 million additional doses of Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech’s vaccine between April to June, the Times reported. The drugmaker has said it could supply 70 million doses, the people said, provided it gets better access to manufacturing supplies through the Defense Production Act.

This access would help Pfizer to acquire the nine specialized products it needs to make the vaccine, the people said.

The deal, which could be announced as soon as Wednesday, would help offset a vaccine shortage that could leave up to 110 million Americans unprotected for the first half of 2021, the Times reported.

The US ordered 100 million doses of Pfizer’s two-shot vaccine for $1.95 billion in July – enough to vaccinate 50 million people – but the Trump administration declined an additional agreement to buy a second batch of the vaccine in late summer.

Instead, the government looked to make agreements with up to six other manufacturers.

Pfizer officials first started asking Gen. Gustave F. Perna, the chief operating officer of the US’s Operation Warp Speed program, for help in accessing supplies in September and have been unhappy about the lack of response, according to documents seen by Times. 

One person familiar with the matter told the Times that if the government had agreed to prioritize Pfizer’s supply needs earlier, the company would now be more likely to fully meet the Trump administration’s demands.

Other drugmakers, including Moderna, used federal money for research and development of their vaccines, but Pfizer did not.

The government has not prioritized supplies for Pfizer because it wanted to protect its investment in the other companies under Warp Speed’s umbrella, the people told the Times.

Read more: The FDA said Friday that it will grant emergency-use authorization for Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine. From $9 million to $18 million, here’s how much the pharma giant’s executives were paid in 2019.

A senior official from the Trump administration told the Times the government had avoided helping Pfizer because the drugmaker refused to promise that it would use the materials to make vaccines solely for American citizens.

“It’s our obligation under that type of priority rating to make sure that assets are used only for US sales or production,” the official said. “They weren’t willing to do that.”

Pfizer’s vaccine, which is 95% effective, is one of two vaccines which the FDA has authorized so far. The second is Moderna’s shot.

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