Washington:US President Joe Biden on Tuesday announced the purchase of additional 200 million doses of coronavirus vaccines as the country hit another grim milestone, reaching 25 million infections.
After reviewing the current vaccine supply and manufacturing plans, Biden announced that his administration will increase overall weekly vaccination distribution to states and tribal territories from 8.6 million doses to a minimum of 10 million doses.
Starting next week, that’s an increase of 1.4 million doses per week, he said adding that these are being distributed to states based on population.
“We’ve got a long way to go, though,” he said in his address to the nation on the steps he is taking to address the coronavirus pandemic.
Reiterating his ambitious goal of 100 million shots in 100 days, he said the end goal is to beat COVID-19.
Biden said he is directing COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients to work with the Department of Health and Human Services and increase the supply of vaccines for the American people.
“We believe that we will soon be able to confirm the purchase of an additional 100 million doses for each of the two FDA authorised vaccines Pfizer and Moderna,” he said, adding this is 200 million more doses that the federal government had previously secured not in hand yet but ordered.
“We expect these additional 200 million doses to be delivered this summer,” he said.
Observing that there are enough vaccine doses to fully vaccinate 300 Americans by the end of the summer, he stressed that over 400,000 people in the country have already died from coronavirus in the past year.
“This is a wartime undertaking. It is not hyperbole, and as such, I directed the team to be ready to exercise all of the authorities I have under the Defense Production Act and expedite these vaccines, and we are using the Defense Production Act to launch full-scale wartime effort to address the supply shortages we inherited from the previous administration,” he said.
“These aggressive steps to increase vaccine supply come on top of the steps we took last week to get more people vaccinated for free, to create more places for them to get vaccinated and to mobilise more medical teams to get shots in people’s arms,” Biden said.
The president has also directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to stand up the first federally supported community vaccination centers. That work is under way, he said.
“We are working to make vaccines available to thousands of local pharmacies beginning in early February, a couple of weeks off, and that will enormously expand our reach,” he said. PTI