Infectious Disease

The US orders an extra 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine throughout wartime to handle bottlenecks

January 27, 2021

4 min read

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Biden, Fauci, Slavitt and Walensky do not report any relevant financial information.

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president Joseph R. Biden Jr. said this week that the government has ordered an additional 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine that it expects to be available by midsummer.

“That’s 100 million more cans of Pfizer and 100 million more cans of Moderna – 200 million more cans than the federal government had previously secured. Not in hand yet, but ordered, ”Biden said.

Source: Adobe Stock

The White House said the new order means the federal government will have adequate vaccine supplies for the entire US population by the end of the summer.

Prior to taking office, Biden had set a goal of giving 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in his first 100 days as president. So far, around 47 million doses have been dispensed in the U.S. since last month, and around 24 million people have reportedly received at least one shot Andy Slavitt, Senior Advisor to the White House COVID-19 Response Team.

Slavitt said in a press conference Wednesday that Biden “is pushing us to see 1 million [doses] per day as a floor, not a ceiling. “

“War effort”

Biden, who spoke earlier in the week, did not appear during Wednesday’s press conference held on Zoom, which also included comments from the new CDC director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, Director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases Anthony S. Fauci, MD, White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator Jeff Zients and Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, MHS, Chairman of the White House COVID-19 Equity Task Force.

The US is expected to need “well over 500 million doses” of COVID-19 vaccine to vaccinate anyone aged 16 and over, Slavitt said – an estimate based on the approved vaccines currently being developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, both in two doses given.

Efficacy data for a single-dose vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson are expected within a few days, according to Fauci, and could change these estimates. Fauci said these results will include efficacy data not only from the US, but also from Brazil and South Africa, where two of the SARS-CoV-2 variants were first reported.

Walensky said that more than 300 cases of a variant first reported in the UK have been identified in the US, but that the variant first reported in South Africa – which has affected scientists more – has not yet been identified in the US

The additional doses ordered from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna will increase the country’s total vaccine order from 400 million to 600 million, according to Slavitt, who said a previously potentially available vaccine supply was no longer available.

Slavitt said the government is announcing a 16% weekly increase in vaccine supplies for each state for the next three weeks. This includes at least 10 million doses per week.

Currently, Pfizer and Moderna are committed to delivering a total of 200 million vaccine doses in the United States by the end of March. Pfizer believes it will ship 120 million doses this quarter alone.

Last week, Biden signed an executive order to use the Defense Production Act to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine production. He said the administration had already identified suppliers to increase the production of vaccinations and personal protective equipment.

“We are using the Defense Production Act to make extensive wartime efforts to address the supply bottlenecks we inherited from the previous administration,” said Biden. “This is a war enterprise; It’s not an exaggeration. “

Syringes ordered

Another part of the plan is to ensure vendors can get an additional sixth dose of vaccine from Pfizer BioNTech vials, Slavitt said. (The pharmacists found out early that the vaccine vials contained more than the stated five doses.)

Slavitt confirmed that the government would buy syringes with low dead space to get the extra doses.

“We’re going to make sure we get six doses from Pfizer’s vials all over America because that’s the potential,” he said.

The government has hired Becton Dickinson, a medical device manufacturer, to provide 286 million syringes for COVID-19 vaccine doses with 40 million low dead space syringes, the Becton Dickinson spokesman said Troy Kirkpatrick Announced earlier this week.

“We now have a national strategy to beat COVID-19,” said Biden. “It’s comprehensive. It’s based on science, not politics. It is based on truth, not denial. And it’s detailed. “

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Amesh A. Adalja, MD

Amesh A. Adalja

It is important to have a steady supply of vaccines in order to complete vaccination of the eligible US population. However, it is important to know that this additional purchase is for the summer and will not have an immediate impact on vaccination efforts in the months to come. In contrast, it will be crucial in the next few months to increase transparency about the amount and timing of vaccine delivery. Improve coordination and communication between federal, state and local health authorities; Providing resources to stalled states; and remove all bureaucratic barriers to the uptake of vaccines in arms.

Amesh A. Adalja, MD

Senior Scholar

Johns Hopkins Center for Health Safety

Disclosure: Adalja does not report any relevant financial information.

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Melanie A. Thompson, MD

Melanie A. Thompson

The Biden government is jumping into a cauldron of pandemic mismanagement that will take some time to reverse. However, day in and day out, we see positive concrete steps to attack various aspects of the problem and most importantly, we see a return to faith in science and public health, truth and transparency. While we probably won’t see the newly announced 200 million vaccine doses from Pfizer and Moderna until the summer, it was refreshing to learn the truth about the schedule, and I think most Americans welcome that kind of transparency, even though it means we can there will be problems with vaccine supplies for the months ahead. After all, it seems that someone did the math.

Another important aspect of the announcement was that states can now schedule vaccine distribution 3 weeks in advance. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but it could be huge. If states and counties cannot predict what they will receive week-to-week, it is impossible to plan vaccinations in advance, even for the crucial second shot. In Georgia, for example, getting appointments for vaccines has been a mess and extremely frustrating for the public. The county health authorities are doing their best, but everyone had to set up their own appointment systems. Appointments open and close within a few hours when the slots are full, so people dangle and jump from district to district and from pharmacy to pharmacy. Crowdsourcing of vaccine slots by citizens has emerged as a way to get information about when and where recordings are available. This is crazy, but it is the legacy that the previous government left us. It is now clear that CDC is aggressively working to transparently track vaccine administration and availability, and I hope the Biden team will work on creating improved systems for the public to secure vaccine appointments.

Melanie A. Thompson, MD

HIV doctor and researcher

Atlanta

Disclosure: Thompson reports that he served as the lead investigator for Bristol Myers Squibb, Cepheid, CytoDyn, Frontier Biotechnology, Gilead Sciences, Merck, Sharp & Dohme, Taimed and ViiV Healthcare.

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