Americas, Latest on coronavirus outbreak

US boosting vaccine supply amid shortages

16% boost in weekly deliveries to come as several US jurisdictions raise alarm over shortages

Michael Gabriel Hernandez   | 27.01.2021
US boosting vaccine supply amid shortages Pharmacist Khanh Pham calls a person over before injecting them with the COVID-19 vaccine at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose, California, United States on December 17, 2020. ( Randy Vazquez / Bay Area News Group - Anadolu Agency )

WASHINGTON 

The US is ordering an additional 200 million COVID-19 vaccine doses with the aim of fully inoculating 300 million Americans by the end of the summer, the Biden administration announced Tuesday. 

Should the goal be realized, that would mean nearly the entire US population of 330 million people would be able to receive the vaccine.

The announcement comes as several jurisdictions have voiced concern over a scarcity of the highly-sought vaccines after they were granted emergency approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in December.

The new order will consist of 100 million doses each of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines, the White House said in a statement. The order represents a 50% increase of the US vaccine supply, which previously stood at 400 million doses.

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines each require two separate doses spaced weeks apart before they are effective in preventing COVID-19 transmission.

The Biden administration is seeking to increase vaccine deliveries to states, tribes and US territories from 8.6 million doses per week to at least 10 million, or about 16%. The White House said the administration would commit to that level for the next three weeks.

Officials in states nationwide have raised alarm over a lack of vaccine supply, including in California, Hawaii, Maryland, New York and West Virginia as resident demand remains sky-high.

Additional supply could come on board if the FDA grants drug-maker Johnson and Johnson emergency authorization for its single-dose candidate. That could happen in the coming weeks with the company expected to file for the action soon should its drug clear Phase 3 trials.

The firm is expected to announce trial results next week.

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