US places $3.2 billion order for updated COVID-19 vaccines for fall

The Biden administration announced on Wednesday it would pay $3.2 billion for 105 million doses of an updated Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for a fall campaign, pending Food and Drug approval. Administration on the new formula.

The order is a major step in the administration’s efforts to move forward with a new vaccination push this fall, in an effort to mitigate a new surge of COVID-19 when the weather turns cold in a large part of the country.

The updated vaccine is expected to target the omicron variant, with the aim of providing better protection.

The new doses are expected to start shipping “as early as late summer 2022 and continue through the fourth quarter of this year,” Pfizer said in a press release.

The Biden administration is using money it was forced to withdraw from other areas of its COVID-19 response after Congress failed to act on the administration’s request for new funds.

administration warns that he had to cut money in important areas like maintaining testing capacity and finding improved vaccines, such as “pan-coronavirus” vaccines that work on multiple variants.

The White House is still pushing for more money from Congress, but the outlook on Capitol Hill doesn’t look particularly rosy amid a lingering stalemate. Republicans have pushed back on the urgency of funds.

White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Ashish Jha said that “despite months of administration warnings about the consequences of underfunding,” due to congressional inaction, Wednesday’s order “will not purchase enough vaccines to provide one of these new booster shots to every adult and, unfortunately, this comes at the expense of continued funding for other critical emergency response needs. the pandemic, such as the manufacture of tests and the domestic manufacture of vaccines.

The order placed on Wednesday, however, will ensure that the country does not completely run out of updated vaccines for the fall.

“We look forward to taking delivery of these new variant-specific vaccines and working with state and local health departments, pharmacies, health care providers, federally qualified health centers and other partners to make them available in communities across the country this fall,” said Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services.

A Food and Drug Administration advisory committee on Thursday gave the green light to the vaccine update for omicron, though there are still other steps in the approval process.

Uptake of even a first booster dose, which is recommended for everyone aged 5 and over, has lagged, indicating that not everyone will want an updated booster this fall.

About 105 million people having receivedd their first booster doseaccording to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Updated at 7:11 p.m.

Leave a Comment