COVID-19 Resource Center

COVID-19 Resource Center

Perspective from Amesh A. Adalja, MD
Perspective from Melanie A. Thompson, MD
Source:

The White House. Fact sheet: President Biden announces new steps to boost vaccine supply and increase transparency for states, tribes, and territories. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/01/26/fact-sheet-president-biden-announces-new-steps-to-boost-vaccine-supply-and-increase-transparency-for-states-tribes-and-territories/. Accessed Jan. 27, 2021.

Disclosures: Biden, Fauci, Slavitt and Walensky report no relevant financial disclosures.
January 27, 2021
4 min read
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US orders 200M additional COVID-19 vaccine doses amid ‘wartime effort’ to address shortages

Perspective from Amesh A. Adalja, MD
Perspective from Melanie A. Thompson, MD
Source:

The White House. Fact sheet: President Biden announces new steps to boost vaccine supply and increase transparency for states, tribes, and territories. https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/01/26/fact-sheet-president-biden-announces-new-steps-to-boost-vaccine-supply-and-increase-transparency-for-states-tribes-and-territories/. Accessed Jan. 27, 2021.

Disclosures: Biden, Fauci, Slavitt and Walensky report no relevant financial disclosures.
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President Joseph R. Biden Jr. said this week that the government has ordered an additional 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine that he expects will be available by mid-summer.

“That’s 100 million more doses of Pfizer and 100 million more doses of Moderna — 200 million more doses than the federal government had previously secured. Not in hand yet, but ordered,” Biden said.

Source: Adobe Stock
Source: Adobe Stock

The White House said the new order means the federal government will have enough vaccine supply for the entire U.S. population by the end of the summer.

Before taking office, Biden set a goal to administer 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine in his first 100 days as president. So far, around 47 million doses have been delivered in the U.S. since last month, and around 24 million people have received at least one shot, according to Andy Slavitt, senior advisor to the White House COVID-19 Response Team.

Slavitt said in a press briefing on Wednesday that Biden “is pushing us to view 1 million [doses] per day as the floor, not the ceiling.”

‘Wartime effort’

Biden, who spoke earlier in the week, did not appear during the Wednesday press briefing, which was held via Zoom and also featured comments from new CDC Director Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony S. Fauci, MD, White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients and Marcella Nunez-Smith, MD, MHS, who chairs the White House’s COVID-19 Equity Task Force.

The U.S. is expected to need “well over 500 million doses” of COVID-19 vaccine to vaccinate everyone aged 16 years or older, Slavitt said — an estimate that is based on the currently authorized vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which are both given in two doses.

Efficacy data on a one-dose vaccine being developed by Johnson & Johnson are expected within days, Fauci said, and could change those estimates. Fauci said those results will include efficacy data not only from the U.S. but also from Brazil and South Africa, where two of the SARS-CoV-2 variants were first reported.

Walensky said more than 300 cases of a variant first documented in the United Kingdom have been identified in the U.S. so far, but that the variant first reported in South Africa — which has concerned scientists more — has not yet been identified in the U.S.

The additional doses ordered from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna will increase the country’s total vaccine order from 400 million to 600 million, according to Slavitt, who said any stockpile of vaccine that may have previously existed does not anymore.

Slavitt said the government was announcing a 16% increase in vaccine supply to every state, each week, for the next 3 weeks. This includes a minimum of 10 million doses per week.

Currently, Pfizer and Moderna are committed to delivering a total of 200 million vaccine doses in the U.S. by the end of March. Pfizer said it believes it can deliver 120 million doses alone this quarter.

Last week, Biden signed an executive order meant to use the Defense Production Act to expedite COVID-19 vaccine production. He said the administration has already identified suppliers in order to increase the production of vaccinations and personal protective equipment.

“We’re using the Defense Production Act to launch a full-scale, wartime effort to address the supply shortages we inherited from the previous administration,” Biden said. “This is a wartime undertaking; it’s not hyperbole.”

Syringes ordered

Another part of the plan is to make sure that providers are able to draw an additional sixth dose of vaccine out of the Pfizer-BioNTech vials, Slavitt said. (Pharmacists discovered early on that vials of the vaccine contained more than the indicated five doses.)

Slavitt confirmed the government would be purchasing low dead space syringes to draw the additional doses.

“We're going to make sure that we get six doses out of Pfizer's vials, everywhere in America, because that's the potential,” he said.

The administration has contracted Becton Dickinson, a medical technology manufacturer, in order to provide 286 million syringes for COVID-19 vaccine doses, with 40 million low dead space syringes, Becton Dickinson spokesman Troy Kirkpatrick announced earlier this week.

“We now have a national strategy to beat COVID-19,” Biden said. “It’s comprehensive. It’s based on science, not politics. It’s based on truth, not denial. And it is detailed.”