Americans will have a chance to receive the COVID-19 vaccine “at no cost,” the Department of Health and Human Services said Wednesday.
The U.S. said it has paid Pfizer and BioNTech — a producer of a potential coronavirus vaccine — close to $1.95 million to produce 100 million doses of the vaccine, assuming it proves safe and effective. The U.S. has the option to secure 500 million additional doses.
The two companies are reportedly developing four potential vaccines to the virus.
“We are pleased to have signed this important agreement with the U.S. government to supply the initial 100 million doses upon approval as part of our commitment to address the global health threat. This agreement is one of many steps towards providing global access to a safe and efficacious vaccines for COVID-19. We are also in advanced discussions with multiple other government bodies and we hope to announce additional supply agreements soon. Our goal remains to bring a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine to many people around the world, as quickly as we can,” said Ugur Sahin, M.D., CEO and co-founder of BioNTech.
This represents “the largest such deal between the government and companies racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine,” per CNBC.
Assuming the vaccine works, Pfizer would develop vaccines across the United States at direction of the federal government. Americans could then receive the vaccine “at no cost,” the HHS said, per CNBC.
However, it’s unclear who would receive the COVID-19 vaccine first and how it would be distributed, CNBC reports.