The US Department of Health and Human Services said on Wednesday that the Biden administration has agreed to buy 105 million doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine.
The contract, which is for vaccinations in the fall, totals $3.2 billion and includes “options for up to 300 million doses,” according to an agency news release.
The order, which includes vaccines for both children and adults, might arrive by early October, the FDA said.
In the press release, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said, “Vaccines have been a game-changer in our fight against COVID-19, allowing people to return to normal activities knowing that vaccines protect from severe illness.” “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to doing everything we can to continue to make vaccines free and widely available to Americans — and this is an important first step to preparing us for the fall.”
The Biden administration and Congress recently clashed over funding for upcoming Covid-19 response and mitigation measures, which led to today’s announcement.
For the administration’s Covid-19 response, the White House had earlier this year proposed $22.5 billion in funding, which would have gone toward vaccines, tests, and treatments. Although they were able to come to a modified agreement on a $10 billion package, negotiators left Washington for the Easter break without getting the plan passed. Since then, Congress has been unable to come to an agreement.
In order to pay for this new vaccine purchase, $10 billion from the ongoing Covid-19 response activities was redirected.
Sen. Mitt Romney, a Republican from Utah, charged earlier this month that the administration had been dishonest about the funding, saying that “for the Administration to say they could not purchase these things and then, after several months, divert some funds and then purchase them is unacceptable, and makes our ability to work together and have confidence in what we’re being told very much shaken to the core.”
The statement on Wednesday also comes one week after the US started vaccinating kids under five.
US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy stated on CNN’s “New Day” last week that the possibility of another booster shot for the general population in the fall is under discussion. Both Dr. Vivek Murthy and Dr. Anthony Fauci, directors of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and members of the federal Covid-19 response, have warned that the US is likely to face an increase in cases in the fall.