On July 22, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense (DoD) announced an agreement with Pfizer for large-scale production and delivery of 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine after the vaccine’s successful manufacture and approval. The agreement also permits the federal government to obtain an additional 500 million doses.
The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), in collaboration with DoD, provided the $1.95 billion to fund production and delivery of the first 100 million doses of the vaccine. The U.S. government did not provide financial support for vaccine development.
The contract with Pfizer goes into effect only if the vaccine receives Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) or licensure from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Either pathway would require the completion of a Phase 3 clinical trial to prove safety and efficacy. Pfizer and its collaborator BioNTech are currently performing Phase 1/2 clinical trials on investigational vaccines.
The Administration explained that by entering into an agreement with Pfizer ahead of vaccine approval it will be able to more quickly deliver a vaccine to Americans by the end of the year, helping to meet the primary goal of Operation Warp Speed. Further, HHS notes that the vaccine would be available to Americans at no cost, but explains that healthcare providers may charge insurers for the cost of vaccine administration.