The vaccine candidate is being developed jointly by Pfizer and BioNTech SE
Pharmaceutical company to deliver 100m doses of vaccine but US could buy another 500m under agreement, Alex Azar said.
The Trump administration will pay Pfizer nearly $2bn for a December delivery of 100m doses of a Covid-19 vaccine the pharmaceutical company is developing, the health and human services (HHS) secretary, Alex Azar, announced Wednesday. Pfizer and BioNTech said the US will pay $1.95bn upon receipt of the first 100m doses it produces, following FDA authorization or approval. Americans would receive the vaccine for free, the companies said.
The program aims to deliver 300m doses of a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine by January 2021.
Under the initiative, the government will speed development and buy vaccines –before they are deemed safe and effective – so that the medication can be in hand and quickly distributed if the FDA approves or authorizes its emergency use after clinical trials.
There is no approved vaccine for Covid-19, but the government has provided financial support for five vaccine candidates. The agreement is part of a plan to ramp up manufacturing in the event a vaccine is approved. The US could buy another 500m doses under the agreement, Azar said.
Nearly 4 million Americans have been infected by the coronavirus and at least 142,000 have died.
The U.S. government has put in an order for enough doses of Pfizer and BioNTech experimental Covid-19 vaccine to inoculate nearly every American. It is paying a bit more than analysts expected.
Pfizer (ticker: PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) said Wednesday that the companies are selling 100 million doses of the vaccine to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense for $1.95 billion,
a deal that prices each dose of the experimental vaccine at $19.50
The deal allows the U.S. government the option of buying an additional 500 million doses.
In a note on Tuesday morning, Mizuho analyst Vamil Divan called the price “somewhat higher than expected.”
“We believe there have been a wide range of expectations for what Pfizer would ultimately charge, but believe overall it was closer to the $15 range per dose,” Divan wrote.
Pfizer and BioNTech are testing the vaccine as a two-dose regimen, so 600 million doses would be enough to vaccinate almost the entire U.S. population of 320 million people.