When asked if the Trump administration missed a crucial opportunity to get more doses for Americans, a spokeswoman for the Department of Health and Human Services said: “We are confident we will receive 100 million doses of Pfizer’s vaccine, as in Our contract also includes five other vaccine candidates, including 100 million doses on the way from Moderna. “
The federal treaty signed in July called for Pfizer to deliver 100 million doses at a cost of $ 19.50 per dose by March – provided the vaccine works. It gave the government the ability to request 100 to 500 million additional doses. It was one of six contracts the Trump administration signed with vaccine manufacturers to hedge their bets and maximize the chances of success.
The accounts differ over the timing of discussions between Pfizer and federal officials about blocking additional doses. Several people said that Pfizer officials repeatedly warned the Trump administration in late summer or early fall that demand could far exceed supply and urged them to pre-order more cans, but were denied.
A senior administration official, who spoke to reporters on Monday on condition of anonymity, said any company that sells hundreds of millions of doses before showing evidence that their vaccine works “just won’t get government money.”
Another person familiar with the negotiations said talks about possible additional doses began in early October. Michael Pratt, a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, declined to comment on the discussions, but said that “an important part of any negotiation is setting schedules for delivery and production quantities”.
In a statement, Pfizer, a US company headquartered in New York, said that “additional doses above 100 million are subject to a separate and mutually acceptable agreement” and that “the company cannot comment on confidential discussions that may be with the US government happen. “
So far, only Pfizer has received emergency clearance from a Western government. UK regulators approved this less than a week ago after the results of late-stage clinical trials showed the vaccine was about 95 percent effective. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to follow suit in the USA this weekend.