United States Buys 100 Million More Pfizer Vaccine Doses

Ralph Ellis and Carolyn Crist

December 24, 2020

Editor's note: Find the latest COVID-19 news and guidance in Medscape's Coronavirus Resource Center.

The Trump administration is buying 100 million additional doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

At least 70 million of the new doses will be delivered by June 30, 2021, the department said. The rest will be delivered by July 31, 2021.

"This new federal purchase can give Americans even more confidence that we will have enough supply to vaccinate every American who wants it by June 2021," Alex Azar, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a news release.

The federal government will pay $1.95 billion for the 100 million additional doses, the same as for the first 100 million doses, according to Pfizer. The government also has the option of 400 million more doses.

On Dec. 11, the FDA authorized the Pfizer vaccine for emergency use, and the first doses were administered to health care workers Dec. 14. The FDA authorized Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 18. Doses were shipped to immunization sites this week.

Next week, 2.6 million Pfizer doses and 2 million Moderna doses will be shipped, bringing the total to 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses delivered by the end of the year.

"At the volume and the scale of what we're doing every day, we're learning things that help us to get better," Gen. Gus Perna, the coordinator of vaccine distribution logistics for Operation Warp Speed, said in a news briefing Wednesday afternoon.

The second doses of the Pfizer vaccines will go out next week to be administered during the week of Jan. 4, he said. So far, 1 million people have received a shot, which should increase at hospitals and vaccine distribution sites in coming weeks based on states' plans.

"It is important that the states are able to increase the cadence of immunization, but it is also important that they do it at a rate where they are in control and no accidents are happening, particularly at the start," Moncef Slaoui, chief science adviser for Operation Warp Speed, said during the briefing.

Additional vaccine news is on the horizon, he added. Johnson & Johnson will likely submit safety and efficacy data and file for FDA emergency use authorization at the end of January or beginning of February, with vaccine doses being shipped in February. AstraZeneca has enrolled 27,000 participants in its 30,000-person clinical trial, and Novavax will start its final stage of clinical trials soon. Those companies may be able to seek FDA emergency use authorization by April or May, he said.


Department of Health and Human Services, "Trump Administration purchases additional 100 million doses of COVID-19 investigational vaccine from Pfizer."

Pfizer, "Pfizer and BioNTech to supply the U.S. with 100 million additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine."

C-SPAN, "Vaccine Distribution Briefing with Defense and Health and Human Services Officials, December 23, 2020."