The United States government will receive an additional 100 million doses of Moderna Inc’s COVID-19 vaccine, the company said on Friday, as the country prepares for a vaccine roll-out that officials hope will help get the surging pandemic under control.
The US has ordered a total of 200 million doses to date, Moderna said, adding that of the first order, about 20 million doses will be delivered by the end of December and the rest will come in the first quarter of 2021.
The US in August entered into an agreement with Moderna to acquire 100 million doses of its potential COVID-19 vaccine for about $1.5bn, with an option to secure an additional 400 million doses.
The country has recorded more than 15.7 million COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began – the most in the world – and infections are surging across the US, overwhelming many hospitals and healthcare workers.
A panel of outside advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is scheduled to hold a meeting on December 17 to discuss Moderna’s request for an emergency use authorisation for its vaccine.
The FDA is expected to issue an authorisation for a Pfizer-BioNTech two-dose COVID-19 vaccine in the coming days, US officials said on Friday, after the FDA advisory panel endorsed that vaccine a day earlier.
The US is preparing a widespread campaign to deliver the vaccine and slow a pandemic now killing about 3,000 citizens per day.
Another 2,902 virus-related deaths were reported on Thursday, a day after a record 3,253 people died, a pace projected to continue for the next two to three months even with a rapid roll-out of inoculations.
“We will work with Pfizer to get that shipped out so we could be seeing people getting vaccinated Monday or Tuesday,” Azar ( Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar ) said.