White House bet on Pfizer doses raises concerns about vaccine supply


THE HILL - The Trump administration's decision not to purchase additional doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine could prove to be a risky gamble resulting in a delay of an ambitious schedule to vaccinate Americans.

The administration has a contract in place for 100 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine, enough to vaccinate only 50 million people.  In addition, the company's commitments to other countries means that if the U.S. needs more doses, the company would not be able to fulfill them until the summer. The administration has decided to rely on other companies for effective inoculation in addition to Pfizer, fueling concerns that the U.S. may not be able to meet its goal of vaccinating the entire U.S. population by the spring or summer of 2021.

Amy Hartman, assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Vaccine Research, said it appeared that the administration was hedging its bets. "I think it's easy in hindsight to say yeah, they should have [secured more doses]," Hartman said.
For example, if evidence came out that the brand-new RNA vaccines didn't work as well as a more standard vaccine, "then we wouldn't have wasted time and money on a candidate that isn't going anywhere," she said. But Hartman said she was not sure why the U.S. would decline to buy more doses once they knew initial results were so promising. 


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