WASHINGTON — The U.S. has finalized a previously announced deal with Pfizer and Moderna for an additional 200 million Covid-19 vaccine doses, which should provide enough supply for nearly every American to be fully vaccinated, President Joe Biden said.
During a visit to the National Institutes of Health on Thursday, Biden said that the federal government had signed the final contracts this afternoon for 100 million more doses of the Moderna vaccine and 100 million more from Pfizer.
Biden said last month that he was directing the federal government to secure the additional doses on top of the 400 million ordered under the Trump administration. With the new order in place, the U.S. will have enough supply to fully vaccinate 300 million people with the two-dose vaccines, Biden said.
Still, it remains unclear when everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one given the logistical challenges of administering the shots. Biden said that Pfizer and Moderna were speeding up production to deliver 100 million doses each by the end of May — a month sooner than initially planned. But the additional 200 million doses finalized Thursday won’t be available until the end of July.
“We’re going to be in a position where it’s not going to be by the end of the summer” Biden told reporters during a tour of the NIH labs, adding that it’s important people take steps to slow the spread in the interim.
A White House officials said the federal government expects to have received a total of 600 million dose by the end of summer, but it might take longer to get those doses into patients arms. The White House hasn’t given timeline for vaccinations beyond the goal of 100 million shots in Biden’s first 100 days in office.
The Biden administration has been working to ramp up the supply of the vaccine and has increased distribution to the states by 28 percent since Inauguration Day. Biden said his transition was led to believe the slow vaccination roll out under the Trump administration was a distribution problem not an issue with the amount of vaccine, saying “we were under the impression that there was significantly more vaccine.”
“When I became president three weeks ago America had no plan to vaccinate most of the country,” Biden said. “It was a big mess, it is going to take time to fix, to be blunt with you.”
As of Feb. 11, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 33 million first doses were administered and more than 10 million were people fully vaccinated.