U.S. orders 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine candidate from Pfizer and BioNTech

(Image credit: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Pfizer and BioNTech have announced a nearly $2 billion agreement with the U.S. government for doses of a potential COVID-19 vaccine.

Under the agreement the companies detailed on Wednesday, the U.S. will get 100 million doses of a COVID-19 candidate after it's manufactured if it receives approval or authorization from the Food and Drug Administration. The U.S. will pay $1.95 billion for doses of the potential vaccine for Americans to receive for free and "also can acquire up to an additional 500 million doses," the announcement said.

"Depending on success in clinical trials, today's agreement will enable the delivery of approximately 100 million doses of this vaccine to the American people," U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said in a statement.

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Albert Bourla, the CEO of Pfizer, recently expressed confidence in the company's coronavirus vaccine candidate, saying in an interview with Time it's "feasible" for it to potentially receive FDA approval in October "if we are lucky." On Wednesday, Pfizer and BioNTech said that depending on how studies of the vaccine go, they aim to "be ready to seek Emergency Use Authorization or some form of regulatory approval as early as October 2020." If that goes forward, they'll look to manufacture up to 100 million doses globally by the end of the year and "potentially more than 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021."

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Brendan Morrow

Brendan is a staff writer at The Week. A graduate of Hofstra University with a degree in journalism, he also writes about horror films for Bloody Disgusting and has previously contributed to The Cheat Sheet, Heavy, WhatCulture, and more. He lives in New York City surrounded by Star Wars posters.