The Trump administration has bought an additional 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses from Moderna, officials announced on Friday, after reports emerged that it missed an opportunity to buy tens of millions of doses from Pfizer.
That adds doses for 50 million more people to the total amount of vaccine procured by the Trump administration before it leaves power, counting the two firms whose vaccines are on the verge of FDA approval: Moderna and Pfizer.
But the news comes after the Trump administration was embarrassed by reports that it declined to take Pfizer up on an offer for more than the initial 100 million doses that it bought over the summer. Instead, Pfizer sold additional orders of its vaccine to the European Union and other countries, meaning that any additional shots from the pharmaceutical giant would have to wait until at least June.
In total, the Trump administration has now procured enough doses to inoculate 150 million Americans against the deadly virus, at a total of 300 million doses of two-shot vaccines.
The Trump administration said that Moderna would finish supplying the additional 100 million doses by the end of June.
Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir told Fox and Friends on Friday that the government expected 20 million people to receive their first round of shots in December, with an additional 30 million receiving them in January, and an additional 50 million in February.
The FDA committee in charge of verifying vaccine data is set to meet about Moderna’s vaccine candidate on Dec. 17. The vaccine, which is based on the same mRNA technology as Pfizer’s, has a similarly high effectiveness rate and is expected to receive regulatory approval before the end of the year.