The United States will distribute an additional 100 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech | Voice of America

Pfizer-BioNTech announced on Wednesday that it will supply the United States with an additional 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine as the country struggles to stem a sharp rise in infections.

Drugmakers said they expect delivery to be completed by the end of July in an agreement with the federal government on nearly $ 2 billion.

“Securing additional doses from Pfizer and BioNTech for delivery in the second quarter of 2021 further expands our dose range in Operation Warp Speed’s portfolio,” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement. “This new federal purchase can give Americans even more confidence that we will have enough stock to vaccinate every American who wants it by June 2021.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use on December 11, paving the way for drug manufacturers to supply the government with an initial 100 million doses.

The agreement announced on Wednesday stipulates that the companies will deliver at least 70 million additional doses by June 30, while the remaining 30 million doses will be delivered by July 31. The government can also buy up to an additional 400 million doses.

The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the first of two approved by the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use, the second was developed by rival Moderna, Inc. The first shipments of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine across the United States began on December 13.

The United States still leads the world in mortality from COVID-19, with nearly 323,000, and in infections, with more than 18.2 million, according to Johns Hopkins University. Coronavirus causes COVID-19 disease.

Healthcare workers and residents of nursing homes were among the first to be vaccinated. More than 600,000 people in the U.S. have received their first doses since Monday, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Both Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna need two stitches to be fully effective.