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Biden announces plan to buy 200 million more coronavirus vaccine doses

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Biden announces plan to buy 200 million more coronavirus vaccine doses


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President Joe Biden signed four new executive orders, building on steps taken as part of his campaign promise to create a more equitable society.

USA TODAY

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden announced Tuesday the U.S. has reached an agreement to purchase an additional 200 million coronavirus vaccine doses, a boost that means the U.S. will have enough supply to fully vaccinate 300 million Americans by the end of summer or beginning of fall..

“This is a wartime undertaking. It’s not hyperbole,” Biden said during remarks on the COVID-19 pandemic at the White House.

Biden outlined the new purchase plans along with an increase in the weekly vaccine allocation to states, tribes and territories from 8.6 million doses to a minimum of 10 million doses over the next three weeks. 

The additional purchases would raise the U.S. vaccine supply from 400 million doses to 600 million doses, ensuring that the country will eventually have two shots for nearly every American.

The Department of Health and Human Services is also planning to provide states, tribes and territories with allocation estimates for the upcoming three weeks instead of the one week look-ahead they previously received, Biden said. 

“This is going to help make sure governors, mayors and local leaders have greater certainty around supply, so they can carry out their plans to vaccinate as many people as possible,” he said. 

More: Biden addresses racial bias in housing, directs DOJ to phase out use of private prisons in new executive orders

More: ‘Failure is not an option’: Biden faces pressure to deliver in ‘wartime’ effort against COVID-19 crisis

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Some lucky people won the coronavirus vaccine lottery by getting leftover doses that would otherwise spoil. But high demand has created problems when people rush to get to the head of the line. (Jan. 22)

AP Domestic

The boost of 1.4 million weekly allocations will primarily be supplied by Moderna’s vaccine, one of two authorized for emergency use in the U.S. Pfizer, which makes the second authorized vaccine, announced earlier Tuesday it was ahead of schedule on fulfilling the 200 million doses the U.S. purchased last year.  

Each of the vaccines require two doses. A second shot should be administered about three or four weeks after the first, depending on which vaccine was given.

The announcement comes after several states have reported vaccine and supply shortages while tens of thousands of people who managed to get appointments for a first dose have complained of cancellations. 

Biden has issued a flurry of execution actions related to COVID-19 and laid out a 198-page plan that includes a campaign to meet his pledge of administering 100 million vaccine shots in 100 days, expanding access to testing, requiring masks on most forms of transportation and providing relief to states and cities still struggling to contain the spread of the virus. 

The plan’s success relies on Congress quickly acting to approve the president’s $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package, an ambitious proposal that some GOP lawmakers remain skeptical about. 

More: Moderate lawmakers are looking to head-off gridlock over Biden’s COVID stimulus plan

Biden again warned that coronavirus cases would continue to climb, noting the death toll could top 500,000 by the end of next month, but remained confident in his administration’s COVID-19 plan. 

The U.S. has more than 25.2 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 420,800 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

“I hope you’re all asking me by the end of the summer that you have too much vaccine left over, you have too much equipment left over,” he said. 

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told reporters earlier Tuesday that administration officials were calling governors to brief them on updated plans for vaccination distribution and coordinate a further rollout. 

Following the call, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan offered a more sobering assessment, noting the limited vaccine supply was “only a tiny fraction of what our citizens desperately need.” 

“We appreciate the administration stating that it will provide states with slightly higher allocations for the next few weeks, but we are going to need much more supply,” he said in a statement. 

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