In an attempt to deliver on the U.S. president’s pledge to contain the pandemic, the Biden administration will buy 200 million additional coronavirus vaccines and funnel more to states now, a senior administration official said on Tuesday.
Biden, who took office last week, is in a battle to eradicate the virus when faster-spreading strains threaten to lift the already hard-hit death toll across the United States.
On Tuesday, the administration briefed state governors on its proposals to raise the volume of the vaccine going to those local governments to 10 million doses per week for the next three weeks, up from 8.6 million now, according to the official who refused to be identified, who foresaw a proposal not yet negotiated by the president.
The administration will buy 100 million doses of each of the Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc vaccines, bringing the total doses to 600 million, with supply anticipated in the summer.
To be completely effective, each vaccination needs two doses per person, meaning the proposed sales will reach most of the 331 million people in the world.
The administration has vowed three weeks in advance to inform the states of how much vaccine they will receive in the future.
In his presidential election campaign, Biden made the handling of the pandemic a central issue, but in its early days, the government sent conflicting signals on when precisely the vaccines would be completely administered.
On Monday, Biden said he claimed that it was possible to prescribe 150 million doses of the vaccine in his first 100 days in office, and his press secretary Jen Psaki said that his aspiration was not an official modification of the existing target of 100 million doses for the same span.