President Joe Biden announced that the United States is working to purchase an additional 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccines, which will double the supply in the country.
Federal officials are in talks with Moderna and Pfizer to receive 100 million doses from each company to bring the country’s total vaccine supply to 600 million.
Ultimately, this will give the United States the ability to vaccinate up to 300 million Americans, President Biden said.
“This is a master plan that removes all questions and leaves nothing to chance,” he said. “It’s a wartime effort.”
However, the companies will not be able to make these additional supplies until the summer, which increases the likelihood of a deficit that could persist for several months.
Biden outlined new plans to procure and increase weekly vaccine distributions across states, tribes and territories, from 8.6 million doses to at least 10 million in the next three weeks.
The Department of Health and Human Services also plans to bring supply estimates to states, tribes and territories over the next three weeks, Biden said.
“This will give governors, mayors and local leaders more certainty about the supply so they can carry out their plans to vaccinate as many people as possible,” he said.
Each vaccine requires two doses. The second dose should be given about three to four weeks after the first, depending on the vaccine.
Biden made the announcement after several states reported shortages of the vaccine, causing tens of thousands of people who signed up for the vaccine to complain about the cancellation.
The President again warned that the incidence of coronavirus will continue to grow, noting that the number of deaths could reach 500 thousand by the end of February. At the same time, the head of state remains confident in his administration’s plan to combat COVID-19.
“I hope by the end of the summer you will all be telling me that there are too many vaccines and too much equipment left,” he said.
After a joint telephone conversation with state governors and senior Biden administration officials, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said the limited additional vaccine supply was “just a fraction of what Americans desperately need.”
“We appreciate the administration’s statement that it will slightly increase supplies to the states, but we need much more,” he said.