Sources: US Didn't Get in Line Fast Enough for More Vaccine

Pfizer promised 100M initial doses to US, but it's reportedly committed additional supply to others
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 8, 2020 7:54 AM CST
Sources: US Didn't Get in Line Fast Enough for More Vaccine
A woman receives the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, England, on Tuesday.   (Owen Humphreys/Pool via AP)

As Pfizer wrangles with supply chain issues for 2020 distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, some more potential bad news for American patients: The Washington Post and New York Times report the company has told the Trump administration that, after the initial 100 million doses it agreed to deliver by March, it may not be able to get more here before June or July, because others are in line before us. Sources tell the Post that Pfizer encouraged the US over the summer to commit to up to 200 million initial doses, but the US declined. "Anyone who wanted to sell us ... without an [FDA] approval, hundreds of millions of doses back in July and August, was just not going to get the government's money," a senior administration official says. When federal officials finally started inquiring last weekend about purchasing more doses, Pfizer said it had already committed its supply to other nations, the sources say.

"Any additional doses beyond the 100 million are subject to a separate and mutually acceptable agreement," Pfizer says in a statement, per the Times. The Trump administration is denying any issue, with officials noting Pfizer isn't the only vaccine manufacturer out there—though some officials say those other manufacturers won't have enough doses to compensate. Meanwhile, USA Today poses an interesting question to ex-FDA chief Scott Gottlieb: Because the vaccine is administered in a double dose, would it be better to dole out half the currently available doses now to a certain number of people, saving the second batch for the patients' second dose in January, or use that second batch to inoculate even more people with their first shot? "We should get as many shots in arms as possible, right away," Gottlieb says, noting even one shot should offer some protection, and that more doses should hopefully be available next month so everyone can get that second shot. (Read more Pfizer stories.)

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