BETHESDA, Md. (AP) — President Joe Biden says the U.S. will have enough supply of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of the summer to inoculate 300 million Americans.
Biden on Thursday toured the Viral Pathogenesis Laboratory at the sprawling National Institutes of Health complex just outside Washington that created the COVID-19 vaccine now manufactured by Moderna.
Biden says the U.S. had secured contractual commitments from Moderna and Pfizer to deliver the 600 million doses of vaccine by the end of July — more than a month earlier than initially anticipated.
“As the President directed, we are expanding our supply of COVID vaccines to protect people as quickly as possible,” said Acting HHS Secretary Norris Cochran. “These purchases will allow us to accelerate our vaccination efforts to get shots into the arms of the American people. While we rapidly ramp up the pace of vaccinations, I encourage everyone to take actions now to protect themselves and their families: wear a mask, wash your hands often, and practice physical distancing.”
The companies began manufacturing doses of their vaccines at the same time that clinical trials were getting underway last year.
Beginning the complex process of scaling up to large-scale manufacturing in parallel with clinical trials expedited the traditional vaccine development timeline so that initial doses could begin shipping when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted emergency use authorization.