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The Biden administration will increase vaccine supplies to states, exercise an option to buy a total of 200m more vaccine doses from Pfizer and Moderna and said it would give states more lead time on the amount of vaccine it will deliver.
The administration’s plan would accelerate vaccine distribution soon to deliver roughly 1.4m shots per day and 10m doses per week, as part of the White House’s ambition to vaccinate 100 million people in 100 days.
A senior administration official said the new purchase order would allow the government to vaccinate 300 million Americans with a two-dose regimen of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.
The senior official said there are two “constraining factors”, for delivering vaccines quickly: supply and distribution. The official said the White House is working to increase capacity for both, by purchasing more vaccine, raw supplies and setting up federal vaccination sites.
The official called the roll-out a “daunting effort”, and called on Congress to pass a $1.9tn stimulus package which includes more money for state vaccination campaigns.
The Biden administration has repeatedly said it aims to vaccinate 100 million people in 100 days, a goal that appeared to be in hand as the US exceeded 1m doses per day in the president’s first week. As of Tuesday, 19 million people had received one vaccine shot, and 3.4 million received a second.
On Monday, Biden said he was hopeful the US was on track to deliver nearly 1.5m vaccinations per day, and that the US would be “well on our way” to herd immunity by the spring. Over the weekend, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr Anthony Fauci, described 1m vaccinations per day as, “a floor, not a ceiling”.
However, Biden also forecast a more harrowing death toll, and on Monday said the US “could see” 660,000 deaths total before the pandemic is brought under control. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicts up to 508,000 people in the US could have been killed by Covid-19 by 13 February. The death toll so far is 423,000, according to the Johns Hopkins coronavirus research center.
The Biden administration is also planning to exercise an option to purchase 200m more vaccine doses, 100m from Pfizer/BioNTech and 100m from Moderna, the two producers with US emergency use authorization so far, through contracts first established by the Trump administration.
This would increase the government-purchased vaccine supply to 600m doses. The administration said it expects that supply to reach roughly 300m people, because both authorized vaccines require a two-dose regimen.
As well, the administration said it was working to provide states with more predictability about forthcoming vaccine allotments, a system plagued by uncertainty through the Trump administration.
The senior official said the government expects to deliver states 10m vaccine doses per week for the next three weeks, and will give states at least three weeks notice of upcoming shipments.
The vice-president, Kamala Harris, and the second gentleman Doug Emhoff received the second dose of a Covid-19 vaccine Tuesday afternoon.
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: Biden to increase vaccine supplies to states and buy 200m more doses | Biden administration