The agency said in a press release the deal, set for fall vaccinations, includes “options for up to 300 million doses,” and adds to a contract worth 3.2 million. billion dollars.
The agency said the purchase includes both pediatric and adult vaccines, and could be delivered in early fall.
“Vaccines have been a game changer in our fight against COVID-19, allowing people to return to normal activities knowing that vaccines protect against severe illness,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. in the press release. “The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to doing whatever it takes to continue to make a vaccine that is free and widely available to Americans – and this is an important first step as we prepare for the fall.”
The announcement comes after a spat of words in recent weeks between the Biden administration and Congress over funding for future Covid-19 response and mitigation measures.
The White House requested $22.5 billion in funding for the administration’s Covid-19 response — money to pay for vaccines, testing and treatment — earlier this year. Negotiators were able to reach a miniature deal on a $10 billion package but left Washington over the Easter break without passing that bill. Congress has stalled in reaching an agreement since then.
As a result, $10 billion has been reallocated from existing Covid-19 response efforts, part of which is being used to fund this new vaccine purchase.
The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, a member of the federal Covid-19 response, has warned that the United States is likely to face an increase in cases this winter. fall, and US surgeon general Dr Vivek Murthy said on CNN’s “New Day” last week that the possibility of another boost to the broader population in the fall is being discussed.
This story has been updated with additional information.