The move by the U.S. government could lead to 200 million BioNTech/Pfizer doses being sent worldwide this year, followed by another 300 million across the first half of2022, according to the individuals familiar with the plan.
President Joe Biden will announce the plan Thursday ahead of the G-7 meeting in the United Kingdom. A person familiar with the details said the plan will involve distributing all the doses through the the vaccine initiative COVAX to 92 developing countries and the African Union.
The new order would nearly double the government’s original agreement to buy up to 600 million BioNTech/Pfizer doses. It has so far secured 300 million for the U.S. population, but American demand has dropped off in recent weeks while calls for overseas donations have increased. The White House announced last week that Pfizer shots would be among the first tranche of 25 million doses going to countries and regions across the world.
The White House declined to comment, but a person familiar with the deal said the White House’s COVID-19 response team had been negotiating its terms over the last four weeks. BioNTech/Pfizer did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Pfizer and its development partner BioNTech have boasted in recent weeks that they are vastly expanding manufacturing capabilities and expect to deliver billions of doses within the next few years.
The Washington Post first reported the plan. White House COVID-19 adviser Andy Slavitt, who is stepping down Wednesday from his role, tweeted that it was “HUGE NEWS” before deleting the link.
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