The Trump administration will shell out $2 billion toward the creation of a coronavirus vaccine, and the first 100 million doses will be free to Americans

Associated PressThe US has ordered 100,000 doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

The US has placed an order for 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine from Pfizer and the German biotech firm BioNTech SE, according to a Wednesday announcement from the companies.

The government will pay $US1.95 billion for the initial vaccine order, but not until they are manufactured and then approved by the FDA. The US can order an additional 500 million doses under the agreement, though the cost of those doses is unclear.

“We’ve been committed to making the impossible possible by working tirelessly to develop and produce in record time a safe and effective vaccine to help bring an end to this global health crisis,” Dr. Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer, said in a written statement. “We made the early decision to begin clinical work and large-scale manufacturing at our own risk to ensure that product would be available immediately if our clinical trials prove successful and an Emergency Use Authorization is granted.”

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As of Thursday morning, 143,204 Americans have died from COVID-19 and nearly 4 million have been infected, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

If their vaccine trials are successful, Pfizer and BioNTech expect to be ready to seek an Emergency Use Authorization “or some form of regulatory approval” as early as October 2020, according to the statement.

By the end of 2020, 100 million doses could be manufactured, it said. That initial batch of doses would be available to Americans for free, the companies said, though they would not account for the entire population of the country, which hovers around 328 million.

The agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech is part of the US government’s Operation Warp Speed program goal to begin delivering 300 million doses of a vaccine for COVID-19 in 2021.

Johnson & Johnson,Moderna, and AstraZeneca, are also working to have their vaccines ready for emergency use by the end of the year.

Read more:
The first look at human data from the coronavirus-vaccine front-runners is in. Here’s how Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca stack up as they race to have their shots ready this fall.

In addition to securing vaccines for every American, the US is also pouring $US347 million into two American vial makers so they can ramp up production and avoid global shortages ahead of a coronavirus vaccine rollout.

“This agreement is one of many steps towards providing global access to a safe and efficacious vaccines for COVID-19. We are also in advanced discussions with multiple other government bodies and we hope to announce additional supply agreements soon,” Dr. Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech. “Our goal remains to bring a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to many people around the world, as quickly as we can.”

Some Americans are still wary of taking a coronavirus vaccine, reflecting an overall scepticism about vaccines and concern about the speed with which the coronavirus vaccine is being produced and approved. A recent poll from ABC News and the Washington Post found that 30% of the country would “probably” or “definitely” not take the vaccine.

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