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U.S. Pays Nearly $2 Billion for Coronavirus Vaccine

As shutdowns across America begin a resurgence, two companies announce a team-up between themselves and the U.S. Government. This morning, an announcement was made by Pfizer on Twitter, stating that they were “proud to announce an agreement with HHSGov, SecAzar under Operation Warp Speed for up to 600M doses of our Covid19 vaccine.”

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The U.S. will be paying $1.95 billion for 100 million doses. Pfizer is teaming up with the German company BioNTech. Together they are creating four different vaccines. When one of the vaccines proves safe, it will be spread across America at the government’s discretion. The HHS previously announced that should a vaccine be made, that “the vaccine would be available to the American people at no cost.” 

The biggest debate right now is who would get to receive the vaccine first. The government will have control over the drug, meaning that they get to decide who has access to it and who doesn’t. 

This deal comes from President Trump’s, Operation Warp Speed. According to the HHS their goal is, “to deliver 300 million doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 by January 2021, as part of a broader strategy to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics (collectively know as countermeasures).”

HHS Secretary, Alex Azar said,

“Through Operation Warp Speed, we are assembling a portfolio of vaccines to increase the odds that the American people will have at least one safe, effective vaccine as soon as the end of this year. Depending on success in clinical trials, today’s agreement will enable the delivery of approximately 100 million doses of vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.”

This is not the first deal made by the U.S. government. They have already announced agreements with other companies, such as $1.6 billion with Novavax, $456 million with Johnson &Johnson, $486 million to support Moderna and up to $1.2 billion for AstraZeneca at Oxford.  

Azar told CNBC that,

“This is what’s really unprecedented with President Trump’s Operation Warp Speed. We are literally making the commercial-scale vaccine now as we’re going through the clinical trial. We’re doing that at risk, using the full power of the U.S. government and our financial resources to do that. No one’s ever done this before.”

Two of the four vaccines have been fast-tracked by the FDA and are showing promise.

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