US purchases additional 100 million doses of Pfizer vaccine

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The US has purchased an additional 100 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19, with the shots set to be delivered by July, the Pentagon announced on Wednesday.

That brings the current US supply of Covid-19 vaccine to 400 million doses - half from Pfizer and half from Moderna - allowing it to immunize 200 million people under the two-shot regimens.

"Under the terms of the agreement, Pfizer will deliver at least 70 million doses by 30 June 2021, with the balance of the 100 million doses to be delivered no later than 31 July 2021," the defence department said in a statement.

The agreement, which comes after reports the Trump administration had passed on the opportunity to secure more supply of the shot, "also includes options for an additional 400 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine," the defence department statement added.

The US is hoping to immunize 20 million people this month, with long-term care residents and health workers at the front of the line.

On Sunday, an expert committee said that people 75 and older should be the next vaccinated along with 30 million "frontline essential workers," including teachers, grocery store employees and police.

"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," health secretary Alex Azar said in the statement.

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