Trump administration officials are denying claims that they declined Pfizer’s offer to supply additional doses of the new coronavirus vaccine to the United States, arguing the news reports were inaccurate and false.
Spread of inaccurate news
One senior administration official said that there would be enough doses to be distributed across the country before the end of the second quarter of next year. Additionally, Trump officials undermined that Moderna and Pfizer, the two leading COVID-19 vaccine makers, would not join the vaccine summit scheduled for Tuesday.
News that the two pharmaceutical companies rejected Trump’s invitations to attend the summit was released on Monday. Several drug-industry figures also argued that the event was only planned to be a public-relations stunt.
Some Trump administration officials claimed that the non-attendance of the two vaccine candidate makers was due to the inappropriateness of having companies with pending applications before the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) join the summit, noting that one official from the agency was invited to the event.
Officials also revealed that the summit would include representatives from CVS, Walgreens, UPS, FedEx, McKesson, and Thermo Fisher, Market Watch reported.
Experimental coronavirus vaccines
Pfizer is one of the two leading experimental coronavirus vaccine candidate makers and is expected to receive the FDA’s approval as early as this week. The pharmaceutical company also pledged to distribute 100 million doses across the United States that would be given to about 50 million Americans over several months.
The Trump administration signed a contract with Pfizer that would have the company set aside 100 million doses for the U.S. with the option of buying more if needed. However, the White House declined to purchase more doses that would have been used to vaccinate more Americans in the second quarter of 2021.
A few days before the experimental vaccine’s expected approval, the Trump administration is seemingly going back on its commitment. However, many people are unsure if Pfizer, which has also given its word to other countries about providing doses of the vaccine, would be able to meet demands.
On Monday, the Trump administration said that with the help of both Moderna and Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccines, they would be able to ensure everyone’s safety in the U.S. The Health and Human Services secretary, Alex Azar, said the administration was “continuing to work across manufacturers to expand the availability of releasable, of FDA- approved vaccine as quickly as possible. We do still have that option for an additional 500 million doses.”
The Operation Warp Speed summit that would be held on Tuesday is expected to address Trump’s plans of distributing the vaccine and how best to administer it to the American people. However, several officials from President-elect Joe Biden’s party who would have the responsibility and authority in overseeing the majority of the country’s largest vaccination program in history were not included in the list of attendees.
The two leading coronavirus vaccine candidates reported an efficacy rate of at least 95% in fighting against the COVID-19 virus. Initial plans have about 40 million doses of the treatment being distributed across the United States before the year ends, having the first shipments delivered hours after the FDA’s approval.
Each of the vaccines have challenges incorporated in their logistics, such as storage, distribution, and administration.
The arrival of a vaccine comes at a time when the United States is seeing some of its worst coronavirus case spikes since the pandemic began in March. On Monday, millions of residents in California were placed back into the most restrictive purple tier after a massive surge of new cases threatened the health and safety of its people, The Guardian reported.