HHS chief says US has option to buy 500M more vaccines from Pfizer

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar on Monday said the US government has the ability to purchase an additional 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from drugmaker Pfizer.

The delivery of 100 million doses — enough for 50 million Americans — is expected in the coming months.

“With Pfizer, we have an option to buy an additional 500 million more,” Azar said in an interview on “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt.”

Azar said he expects the country will have “enough vaccine” by April or June.

The government has contracts with six different vaccine manufacturers each for 100 million doses, “so that we would have 600 million doses of vaccine across a broad portfolio,” Azar said.

The contract with New York-based Pfizer also includes an option to purchase as many as five times more, though Azar said he couldn’t “reveal discussions around potential procurements.”

“But we are continuing to work across manufacturers to expand the availability of releasable, of FDA approved vaccine as quickly as possible…,” he said.

“We do still have that option for an additional 500 million doses.”

A panel of scientists from the Food and Drug Administration is expected to give Pfizer’s vaccine the green light as soon as this week, while another one from Moderna is also likely to be approved for emergency use soon.

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