President Joe Biden is expected to announce Thursday that his administration has secured deals for another 200 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine, the Washington Post reported Thursday, citing three sources.
Biden is expected to make the announcement while on a tour at the National Institutes of Health, according to the Post. The White House and the NIH didn't immediately respond to requests for comment. Though, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain appeared to confirm the news, retweeting the Post article from his official White House Twitter account.
The president arrived at the U.S. agency mid-afternoon Thursday. The new deals would bring the total number of doses to 600 million, enough to inoculate 300 million people. Both Pfizer's and Moderna's authorized vaccines require two doses given about three to four weeks apart.
Biden is trying to pick up the pace of vaccinations in the U.S. after a slower-than-expected rollout under former President Donald Trump's administration. Roughly 34.7 million out of some 331 million Americans have received at least their first dose of Pfizer's or Moderna's two-dose Covid-19 vaccines, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And 11.2 million of those people have already gotten their second shot.
The schedule for delivery of the additional doses was not immediately clear, according to the Post.
Pfizer already has a deal with the U.S. to deliver 200 million doses. The company said earlier this month that it planned to finish those shipments by May, earlier than its initial forecast of July. Moderna also has a deal with the U.S. for 200 million doses.
States have complained that demand for the vaccines is outpacing supply. The administration has previously said it using the Defense Production Act to help Pfizer meet its manufacturing targets for its vaccine.
In addition to securing more doses for states, the Biden administration is using the military to help administer doses and is setting up mass vaccination centers across the United States.
On Wednesday, the administration announced it would partner with Texas officials to build three new community vaccination centers, in Dallas, Arlington and Houston. A few days earlier, the administration said it was sending active-duty troops to California to help staff Covid-19 vaccine sites there.
U.S. officials are also hoping vaccine supply will increase after Johnson & Johnson's Covid-19 vaccine is authorized for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration, which could happen as early as this month. The FDA has scheduled a meeting of its Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee on Feb. 26 to discuss the vaccine, and the U.S. could authorize the vaccine the next day.
The Department of Health and Human Services announced in August that it reached a deal with Janssen, J&J's pharmaceutical subsidiary, worth approximately $1 billion for 100 million doses of its vaccine. The deal gives the federal government the option to order an additional 200 million doses, according to the announcement.
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