Purchase follows FDA recommendation to include Omicron component in boosters.
A total of 105 million doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are on order for a fall vaccination campaign.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), collaborating with the Department of Defense, announced the $3.2 billion contract to buy the vaccines, with options for up to 300 million doses. The order includes a combination of adult and pediatric doses, with some of the adult doses provided as single-dose vials, a first for COVID-19 vaccines, according to HHS.
“Vaccines have been a game-changer in our fight against COVID-19, allowing people to return to normal activities knowing that vaccines protect from severe illness,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a news release. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to doing everything we can to continue to make vaccines free and widely available to Americans – and this is an important first step to preparing us for the fall.”
The announcement followed a June 28 recommendation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee meeting, which recommended the inclusion of an Omicron component for COVID-19 booster vaccines in the United States. Pending FDA authorization of the vaccine and a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, HHS could expect to receive the first deliveries of the vaccine in early fall, according to HHS.
“Over the past 18 months, we have procured and delivered more than 750 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine nationwide, contributing to two-thirds of American adults being fully vaccinated,” HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Dawn O’Connell said in the news release. “We look forward to taking delivery of these new variant-specific vaccines and working with state and local health departments, pharmacies, health care providers, federally qualified health centers, and other partners to make them available in communities around the country this fall.”
In June, without additional COVID-19 funding from Congress, the president’s administration reallocated $10 billion in existing funding, “pulling billions of dollars from COVID-19 response efforts in order to pay for additional vaccines and treatments,” according to HHS. Part of that money will pay for the new Pfizer contract.