US buys additional 100 million doses of Pfizer vaccine

That brings the current US supply of Covid-19 vaccine to 400 million doses. PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US has purchased an additional 100 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19, with the shots set to be delivered by July, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday (Dec 23).

That brings the current US supply of Covid-19 vaccine to 400 million doses - half from Pfizer and half from Moderna - allowing it to immunise 200 million people under the two-shot regimens.

"Under the terms of the agreement, Pfizer will deliver at least 70 million doses by June 30, 2021, with the balance of the 100 million doses to be delivered no later than July 31, 2021," the defense department said in a statement.

The agreement, which comes after reports that the Trump administration had passed on the opportunity to secure more supply of the shot, "also includes options for an additional 400 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine", the department added.

The US is hoping to immunise 20 million people this month, with long-term care residents and health workers at the front of the line.

On Sunday, an expert committee said that people 75 and older should be the next vaccinated along with 30 million "front-line essential workers", including teachers, grocery store employees and police.

"This new federal purchase can give Americans even more confidence that we will have enough supply to vaccinate every American who wants it by June 2021," Health Secretary Alex Azar said in the statement.

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.