Nearly 392 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been delivered in the U.S. But America sees the need for much more, signing up for 200 million additional doses from Pfizer and BioNTech.
The powerhouse vaccine duo revealed the purchase on Friday, saying in a statement that they will deliver 110 million doses to the U.S. by the end of this year and provide the rest by the end of April 2022. The shipments will bring Pfizer-BNT’s total supply to the U.S. to 500 million.
The U.S. can opt to receive an updated version of the shot to address potential variants if available and approved, the companies said.
“These additional doses will help the U.S. government ensure broad vaccine access into the next year,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a release.
In a separate deal, which the companies unveiled last month, they also are providing the U.S. with 500 million vaccine doses for donation to poor countries around the world. The currently authorized Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, called Comirnaty, is given as two doses.
According to the CDC, as of July 22, 392 million vaccine doses have been delivered to the U.S. and 339.8 million have been administered. More than 162 million, or 48.8% of the population is fully vaccinated.
Pfizer and BioNTech have provided more than 189 million of the doses administered in the U.S., compared to 137.3 million for Moderna and 13.1 million for Johnson & Johnson.
The FDA granted Pfizer and BioNTech emergency use approval for Comirnaty in December. President Joe Biden said this week during a town hall in Ohio that he expects the U.S. regulator to grant a full endorsement in the coming months. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, a full approval would convince 31% of unvaccinated Americans to get vaccinated.
Pfizer and BioNTech also are trying to extend the reach of their vaccine. This week the companies unveiled an agreement with South Africa manufacturer Biovac to produce shots from a plant in Cape Town. Bourla added that Pfizer is exploring similar options in Latin America.