Thu. Dec 1st, 2022


The Real News Network

The U.S. will initially hold back half the first vaccine supply.

2 min read

A top federal vaccine official said Wednesday that 2.9 million doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine will be shipped around the country in the first week after it is authorized by the Food and Drug Administration — half of the initial shipment from Pfizer.

On a call with reporters, Gen. Gustave F. Perna, the chief operating officer for Operation Warp Speed, the federal effort to speed a vaccine to market, said that 2.9 million doses would be sent out once the vaccine is authorized, and 2.9 million saved for booster shots, which are given three weeks later. The remaining 500,000 of an available 6.4 million doses are to be held in reserve, in case they are unexpectedly needed.

Health care workers and nursing home residents will be the first groups to receive the vaccine.

General Perna said he had decided to set aside the doses earmarked for the second shot out of caution.

“Eventually, we will become much more confident in our manufacturing, our distribution process, state handling, et cetera,” he said. “And then the requirement for reserve won’t be necessary.”

An outside panel of experts is scheduled to meet on Thursday to consider whether the Pfizer vaccine, which was developed with a German company, BioNTech, should be authorized for limited use. The vaccine was found to be 95 percent effective in a clinical trial. The Food and Drug Administration is expected to make its decision within days.

But supply will initially be limited.

Pfizer, which had to scale back its initial estimates because of manufacturing struggles, has said it can provide about 25 million doses to the United States before the end of the year, and has a contract to provide 100 million doses in total by March. The company is in negotiations with the federal government over supplying additional doses next year, but has said it may not be able to do so until June. The vaccine has already been authorized in the United Kingdom, Bahrain and Canada.

A similar vaccine, developed by Moderna, could also be authorized within weeks, and government officials have said they hope to have given 20 million people their first dose of that vaccine before the end of the year.

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