The US federal government has reached an agreement to pay pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech a total of $3.2 billion (4) billion dollars for 105 million doses of the covid-19 vaccine, according to statements. companies. The doses are part of a fall campaign to get more people vaccinated in the United States, a country with the lowest covid-19 vaccination rate of any wealthy country.
The large order with Pfizer includes vaccines that have been designed to specifically target the omicron variant of the disease, but their shipment will depend on FDA approval, which is currently pending.
“As the virus evolves, this new agreement will help ensure that people across the country have access to vaccines that can provide protection against current and future variants,” said Albert Bourla, President and CEO. General of Pfizer, in a statement posted online.
Delivery of the 105 million doses should begin as soon as “late summer”, according to Pfizer, with a push for new vaccinations in the months that follow. The concern, of course, is that covid-19 will likely see a further resurgence from already high numbers as the weather cools and more people head inland.
The United States reported 196,230 new cases of the disease and 693 deaths on Wednesday, according to the New York Times, numbers that would have been considered abnormally high at any other time in the past two years. But the pandemic is more or less background noise for most Americans who seem to have moved on with their lives. The United States has reported more than 1.01 million deaths from covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, with more than 87.4 million cases.
And while some Americans are still very concerned about the potential to face a “long covid,” the Biden administration has shown no appetite to continue to fight the pandemic in any way publicly — du less in any way more enthusiastic than buying vaccines. Fortunately, getting vaccinated appears to halve the risk of contracting long-lasting covid, according to a recent study from the UK.
Only 67.3% of Americans are fully vaccinated against covid-19, just behind Sri Lanka (67.8%), Mozambique (68.1%), Iran (68.8%), according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.
“This agreement will provide additional doses to US residents and help address the next wave of COVID-19. Pending regulatory clearance, it will also include a vaccine tailored to Omicron, which we believe is important in combating the rapidly spreading variant of Omicron,” said Sean Marett, Chief Commercial Officer and Chief Commercial Officer of BioNTech, in A press release.
“We appreciate the continued partnership of the U.S. government in our common goal to help end this pandemic,” Marett continued.
As Bloomberg News notes, Pfizer shares rose 0.6% after the market closed on Wednesday.