The White House is pushing back on a New York Times report that it had the opportunity to buy far more doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine this summer but declined, meaning Pfizer might not be able to provide more than the initial deal until June.
A senior administration official told reporters Monday that the New York Times story is “false.” The Trump administration, the official said, is “in the middle of negotiations right now and can’t talk publicly about it,” but they feel “absolutely confident” that every American who wants a vaccine will get one. The official said the initial agreement with Pfizer to purchase 100 million doses was announced in July, and that anyone wanting to sell additional doses at that point “was just not going to get the government’s money.”
In its July press release announcing the purchase agreement for 100 million doses of the vaccine, Pfizer said the federal government had agreed to purchase 100 million doses, and said the “U.S. government also can acquire up to an additional 500 million doses.”
In a statement to CBS News, Pfizer said Monday that any additional doses beyond the 100 million agreed upon will need to be handled separately.
“The U.S. government placed an initial order of 100 million doses for Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, and Pfizer is ready to begin shipping initial doses soon after receiving an Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA,” the company said. “Any additional doses beyond the 100 million are subject to a separate and mutually-acceptable agreement. The company is not able to comment on any confidential discussions that may be taking place with the U.S. government.”
Representatives from Pfizer and Moderna will not be attending the White House’s vaccine summit this week.
The first vaccinations are expected to reach vulnerable citizens and health care workers this month. The efficacy rate for the Pfizer vaccine is over 90%.
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