Pending approval from regulators, the US government will buy jabs specially ‘adapted’ to the Covid-19 Omicron strain, Pfizer said
FILE PHOTO: A health worker administers a dose of a Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine at a clinic in Reading, Pennsylvania. © AP / Matt Rourke
The US government is set to purchase more than $3 billion in additional coronavirus vaccines from pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which said the sale could include a new drug designed to protect against the Omicron variant, currently under review by federal regulators.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech announced the latest vaccine deal on Wednesday afternoon, stating they would ship 105 million doses, worth a total of $3.2 billion, with contract options for another 195 million shots should the government agree to exercise them.
“This agreement will provide additional doses for US residents and help cope with the next Covid-19 wave,” said BioNTech executive Sean Marett, adding that “Pending regulatory authorization, it will also include an Omicron-adapted vaccine, which we believe is important to address the rapidly spreading Omicron variant.”
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The firms said they provided the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with “pivotal data” on the “safety” and “tolerability” of two Omicron-adapted vaccine candidates last weekend, pointing to “positive” results in lab studies. Even before receiving approval, they have already started manufacturing doses of both candidates in order to “begin deliveries rapidly upon authorization.”
According to data gathered by UNICEF, the jab developed by Pfizer and BioNTech is among the most widely used immunizations against the coronavirus and has been approved by some 111 nations. The vaccine is one of the most lucrative medicinal products in modern history, helping to double Pfizer’s yearly revenue between 2020 and 2021.