President Biden announced Tuesday that his administration is working to buy an additional 200 million doses of the two COVID-19 vaccines authorized for emergency use, with the objective, the White House says, by the end of the summer, of having sufficient vaccine supply for the entire adult U.S. population.
Over the next three weeks, he also announced steps to increase vaccine doses for state and local governments and to provide them with more clarity on how much supply they should expect.
Longer-term, Biden said his administration plans to buy an additional 100 million doses each from both Moderna and Pfizer, which has a vaccine with its German counterpart, BioNTech.
“This increases the total vaccine order for the U.S. by 50 percent , from 400 million to 600 million with these additional doses expected to deliver this summer,” the White House said in a fact sheet. For the already-promised 400 million doses, the Trump administration secured contracts with the two companies.
A two-dose regimen per individual is required for both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. For individuals 18 and older, the Moderna vaccine is currently approved, while the Pfizer vaccine is currently recommended for individuals 16 and up.
Biden’s announcement of the expected additional supply comes almost a week into his presidency, and as he repeated that his top priority is the rollout of the vaccine to help alleviate the coronavirus pandemic and bring unemployed Americans back to work. More than 420,000 Americans, a figure that is probably a serious undercount, are confirmed to have died from COVID-19.
In the first 100 days of his administration, Biden said his goal was to get 100 million shots in arms, a figure that was in line with earlier trends and was called too low by many experts. Biden, speaking on Monday, threw out a higher figure than he would like to see: 150 million shots.