US to bolster COVID-19 vaccine supply with millions more doses this summer

The Biden administration on Tuesday said it would boost the supply of coronavirus vaccines sent to states, tribes and territories by about 16% to a minimum of 10 million doses a week, for the next three weeks. According to the administration, this increase of 1.4 million doses per week will allow "millions more Americans to get vaccinated sooner than previously anticipated."

In addition, the administration said it will buy enough extra doses of COVID-19 vaccine to be able to inoculate the country's population with a two-dose regimen by the end of summer. Specifically, the federal government is working to purchase another 100 million doses each of vaccines from Pfizer and its partner BioNTech, as well as from Moderna, with both parties already having separate agreements in place to supply the US with 200 million doses of their respective candidates.

An additional 200 million doses

The additional supply, which US officials expect to be delivered this summer, would boost the total US order from 400 million to 600 million doses. However, a senior administration official cautioned that even with the planned increase, supplies are not yet sufficient for what is needed now. "It's going to take a number of months for us to be in a position for us to say to Americans it's open season to sign up for vaccinations," the official said.

The Biden administration also stated that it wants to improve transparency to help states, tribes and territories in their vaccination efforts. As such, the White House said the Department of Health and Human Services will provide three weeks' advance notice of their estimated vaccine allocations, updated on a running basis, "as opposed to the one week look-ahead that they previously received."

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson disclosed on Tuesday that it expects to report results of a Phase III trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate Ad26.COV2.S by early next week and to deliver 100 million doses for use in the US by the end of June, assuming the results are positive and the vaccine is authorised.

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