WASHINGTON — President Biden plans to purchase another 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccines from Pfizer and Moderna, which should give the U.S. enough to fully vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of summer 2021, the administration announced in a press release Tuesday.
The Biden administration will also increase the number of vaccines being shipped weekly to states from 8.6 million to 10 million.
The move comes less than a week after the Biden administration released a sweeping national plan to revamp the coronavirus vaccine effort. That plan foreshadowed a number of the changes announced Tuesday, including purchasing more vaccines from vaccine manufacturers.
Both Biden and his advisers have warned for weeks that supply constraints were one of the biggest obstacles in vaccinating a wide swath of Americans.
“I wish I could tell you there’s plenty of vaccine and we can fill all these endless amounts of appointments. We can’t. It’s going to take us months to have enough supply,” said David Kessler, Biden’s top vaccine expert, during an interview last week.
The Biden administration says it is working to purchase an additional 100 million doses from each of the two vaccine manufacturers, Pfizer and Moderna. It was not immediately clear whether the Biden team began new negotiations with both drug makers to purchase additional doses, or piggybacked off the companies’ earlier negotiations with the Trump administration: The contracts penned by the Trump administration with Pfizer and Moderna both included the option for the United States to purchase additional doses of vaccine. The Pfizer contract allows the U.S. to purchase an additional 400 million vaccine doses and the Moderna contract allows the U.S. to purchase an additional 300 million.