Officials, Pfizer work to bring millions more COVID vaccines to market

Caption
Trump Admin Reportedly Turned Down Offer to Buy Millions More Pfizer Vaccine Doses. According to 'The New York Times,' and multiple other news outlets. the White House declined the option over the summer to purchase an additional 100 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine for delivery in the second quarter of 2021. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is expected to be approved by the FDA as soon as this week. If it is, the first 100 million doses — enough for 50 million people — would be delivered just months from now. but a second round of deliveries would be put on hold as Pfizer fulfills its other international orders. The Trump administration has denied these reports and is insisting that any U.S. citizen who wants to be vaccinated by the end of the 2021 second quarter will be able to do so. [The administration is] continuing to work across manufacturers to expand the availability of releasable, of FDA-approved vaccine as quickly as possible. , Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar, to NBC. We do still have that option for an additional 500m doses, Health and Human Services secretary Alex Azar, to NBC

President Donald Trump’s administration reportedly is working on a new deal to help Pfizer produce millions of more COVID-19 vaccines that could be delivered to Americans in the first half of 2021.

On Monday, the first doses of the vaccines were delivered to American health care institutions, and millions are currently arriving. The vaccine was developed by Pfizer and its German partner, BioNTech. Pfizer agreed this summer to provide the nation with 100 million doses by the end of March 2021, enough to inoculate 50 million because its vaccine requires two shots.

According to The New York Times, Pfizer has indicated in recent days it would be able to manufacture more doses if the administration orders the company’s suppliers to prioritize its purchase requests.

ExploreAJC's full coronavirus coverage

According to an anonymous source quoted by the Times, Pfizer asked for that favored status with suppliers months ago. Trump administration officials were apparently worried about hindering other vaccine makers that had accepted billions of dollars in federal subsidies. Federal officials worked to prioritize orders for manufacturing supplies from those firms, including Moderna.

Moderna’s vaccine is safe and effective for preventing COVID-19, U.S. regulators said Tuesday, clearing the way for a second shot to quickly gain emergency authorization and add to the country’s sprawling immunization effort.

Caption
Most Americans will likely get a COVID-19 vaccine, survey finds

The Food and Drug Administration’s staff said in a report the experimental vaccine is 94.1% effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19, confirming earlier results released by the company.

The report was posted online ahead of a meeting Thursday of agency advisers who will vote whether to recommend authorization before a final FDA decision. The agency doesn’t have to follow the advice of the independent vaccine experts, though it often agrees with its advisory panels. Last week, the FDA authorized Pfizer’s similar vaccine.

The number of dead in the U.S. passed 300,000 on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University, with about 2,400 people now dying per day on average. The toll is expected to grow in the coming weeks, fueled by travel over Christmas and New Year’s, family gatherings and lax adherence to mask-wearing and other precautions.

ExploreU.S. passes 300K coronavirus deaths as vaccines begin arriving

The first 3 million shots are being strictly rationed to frontline health workers and nursing home patients, with hundreds of millions more shots needed over the coming months to protect most Americans.

Vice President Mike Pence will receive the newly released coronavirus vaccine by the end of this week. Pence said Tuesday he looks forward to receiving a vaccine for COVID-19 and will do so without hesitation. The vice president made the remarks while speaking at a Catalent Biologics plant in his home state of Indiana.

“We have come to the beginning of the end of the coronavirus pandemic,” Pence said.

Caption
Moderna COVID vaccine is shown to be safe, will likely be approved

Pence is also stressing the need for Americans to stay focused on limiting the spread of the virus before a vaccine is in widespread use. He said cases and hospitalizations are continuing to rise in many parts of the country. “It’s been a marathon this year. It’s been a marathon of heartbreak for many American families,” he said.

On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, urged President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to get vaccinated for COVID-19 as soon as possible.

“For security reasons, I really feel strongly that we should get them vaccinated as soon as we possibly can.” He added he’d like to see Biden “fully protected as he enters into the presidency in January.”

Caption
Dr. Fauci thinks U.S. will have 'herd immunity' by late Spring or early Summer

Fauci said while Trump probably still has antibodies to the virus that will protect him for at least several months, he should get the vaccine as well to be “doubly sure.” Trump was hospitalized with COVID-19 in early October.

Also Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged elected officials to “step up” and encourage wary Americans to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The Republican leader said that as a childhood polio survivor, he’s a “huge supporter” of being vaccinated.

“Whenever my turn comes, I’m going to be anxious to take the vaccine and do my part to reassure those who are doubtful about this,” McConnell said at a news conference in Washington, D.C. “We really need to get the country vaccinated,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do for yourself, for your family and for the country.”