The United States wants to get another 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, President Joe Biden said Tuesday, enough to keep most Americans vaccinated by the summer as he plans to crack down on a pandemic he warned is still going on could get worse.
The Biden government will purchase 100 million doses each of the vaccines manufactured by Pfizer Inc and BioNTech and Moderna Inc, increasing the total dose to 600 million. Delivery is expected by summer.
The previous purchase target was 400 million cans.
Each vaccine requires two doses per person to be fully effective, suggesting that the new acquisitions would build enough supplies to vaccinate most of the country’s 331 million people. The vaccines are not approved for most children.
“This is a war effort,” Biden said in the White House dining room under a painting of President Abraham Lincoln who led the Union to victory in the US Civil War.
Pfizer is confident it can deliver the additional doses within the timeframe set by Biden, said spokeswoman Sharon Castillo.
Moderna declined to comment.
The new purchase target, along with a promise to bring more vaccines to local authorities, raises the bar for a Democratic president who took office last week and vowed to what he saw as a disastrous emergency response from his Republican predecessor Donald Trump repair.
Biden said he will increase the amount of the vaccine going to local governments to 10 million doses per week for the next three weeks, from 8.6 million now. The news was welcomed by the governors, who said they needed more cans.
“We appreciate the government’s statement that it will provide slightly higher funding to states over the next few weeks, but we will need a lot more supplies,” Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan said in a statement after speaking out Jeff Zients had been informed of a phone call the administration’s COVID-19 response coordinator.
“I urge President Biden to take all possible steps in his power to ramp up production immediately.”
Obstacles in advance
Significant challenges remain, ranging from faster-spreading virus variants to supply bottlenecks to public fears about taking the vaccine. The Biden government has tried to solve the latter problem by publicly vaccinating high-ranking officials. Vice President Kamala Harris took her second and last exposure to Moderna on Tuesday at the National Institutes of Health.
Biden has asked Congress for a $ 1.9 trillion aid package to improve vaccine testing and distribution. However, the proposal met with Republican opposition to the price and the inclusion of some measures not directly related to virus control.
Senate Democrats will approve the incentive even without the support of Republicans, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said Tuesday.
The administration also had extensive questions after sending mixed messages on issues such as when the population would be fully vaccinated.
On Monday, Biden said he believed it would be possible to give 150 million doses of the vaccine in his first 100 days in office. His spokesman Jen Psaki said this was not an official adjustment to the current goal of 100 million doses over the same period.
The pandemic, which killed more than 420,000 Americans, currently infects more than 173,000 people every day and has left millions of people unemployed.
“The cases will continue to increase,” warned Biden. “We didn’t get into this chaos overnight. It will be months before we turn things around. Let me be just as clear: we will get through this. We will defeat this pandemic.”
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)