American drugmaker Pfizer and Germany’s BioNtech will supply the United States with an additional 100 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine under a fresh agreement, the companies said on Wednesday.
They said they expect to deliver all the doses by July 31, 2021. Pfizer already has a contract to supply the U.S. government with 100 million does of its vaccine.
The Department of Health and Human Services said under the agreement, Pfizer will supply 70 million doses of the vaccine by June 30, 2021, with the remaining 30 million to be delivered by July 31, 2021.
“The Trump Administration, through @HHSGov and @DeptofDefense, will purchase an additional 100 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. #OperationWarpSpeed,” tweeted Alex Azar, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
Azar said “securing more doses from Pfizer and BioNtech for delivery in the second quarter of 2021 expands our supply of does across the Operation Warp Speed portfolio.”
In another tweet, Azar said Operation Warp Speed has signed another contract with Moderna to supply 100 million does of their vaccine.
“Operation Warp Speed has now signed contracts for an additional 100M doses of both the Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. This means the US has agreements to secure 400 MILLION doses of @US_FDA-authorized vaccines by mid-2021,” Azar tweeted.
There are two approved coronavirus vaccines in the United States; one from Pfizer and BioNtech approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration almost two weeks ago, and the other by Moderna approved last week.
Both vaccines were developed very fast using a technology known as messenger RNA or mRNA.
Both vaccines require two shots weeks apart to inoculate the body against the deadly virus.
While Pfizer shots are given 21 days apart, the two Moderna shots are administered almost a month apart.
Although they both use the same technology, one of the big differences between both vaccines is that while Pfizer vaccine has to be kept at minus 70 degree celsius, the Moderna vaccine has an advantage, as it can be kept at freezing conditions found in most hospitals.
The Moderna vaccine was developed by Moderna and the U.S. National Institute of Health. It came under the umbrella of a government operation known as Warp Speed, a public-private partnership designed to have millions of vaccine doses ready to ship after an approval by the FDA.
Azar also announced that the United States had signed another agreement with Merck to support advanced development and large-scale manufacturing of the their investigational therapeutic to treat hospitalized patients with severe or critical COVID-19.
“Today, @HHSGov and @DeptofDefense jointly announced an agreement with Merck to support advanced development and large-scale manufacturing of the their investigational therapeutic to treat hospitalized patients with severe or critical COVID-19,” he tweeted.
“More good news about COVID-19 therapeutics is constantly emerging, and President Trump’s commitment to supporting lifesaving therapeutics has already helped deliver hundreds of thousands of Operation Warp Speed-supported therapeutics to the frontlines.”