The Biden administration is boosting purchases of coronavirus vaccines to deliver enough to protect 300 million Americans by the end of the summer, as it surges deliveries to states for the next three weeks following complaints of shortages and inconsistent supplies.
President Joe Biden announced the surge in deliveries to states Tuesday afternoon, along with the news that the federal government is purchasing an additional 100 million doses each of the two approved coronavirus vaccines. With existing purchases, the White House expects to be able to deliver enough of the two-dose regimens to states to vaccinate 300 million people.
The purchases from drugmakers Pfizer and Moderna come as the Biden administration is trying to ramp up vaccine production and states’ capacities to inject them into arms. Even more vaccine could be available if federal scientists approve a single-dose shot from Johnson & Johnson, which is expected to seek emergency authorization in the coming weeks.
Biden was also announcing a roughly 16% boost in deliveries to states over the coming weeks, amid complaints of shortages so severe that some vaccination sites around the U.S. had to cancel tens of thousands of appointments with people seeking their first shot.
Detailed figures posted on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website Tuesday showed that the government plans to make about 10.1 million first and second doses available next week, up from this week’s allotment of 8.6 million. The figures represent doses of both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. The increase comes amid complaints from governors and top health officials about inadequate supplies and the need for earlier and more reliable estimates of how much vaccine is on the way so that they can plan accordingly.
Seeking to those concerns, Biden was set to pledge to provide states with firm vaccine allocations three weeks ahead of delivery to allow for accurate planning for injections.
In other developments:
- An increasing number of COVID-19 vaccination sites around the U.S. are canceling appointments because of vaccine shortages in a rollout so rife with confusion that even the new CDC director admitted over the weekend that she doesn’t know exactly how many shots are in the pipeline.
- New results extend hopes for drugs that supply antibodies to fight COVID-19, suggesting they can help keep patients out of the hospital and possibly prevent illness in some uninfected people.
- Vice President Kamala Harris has received the second dose of her COVID-19 vaccine. Both she and President Joe Biden got the vaccine live on television to help alleviate public resistance to the vaccine and reassure Americans of its safety.
- “Several hundred” White House staffers have been vaccinated for COVID-19 as the Biden administration looks to create a safe workspace for the new president.
- More than 100,000 people have died in the United Kingdom after contracting the coronavirus, a year into Europe's deadliest outbreak, figures from the government showed Tuesday.
- Several gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park appear to be recovering weeks after testing positive for the coronavirus, including a silverback who received antibody treatment.
- Officials say a new Brazilian variant of the coronavirus has made its first known appearance in the United States in a person who recently traveled from Brazil to Minnesota.