US Offers Investments to Boost COVID-19 Vaccine Capacity

US Offers Investments to Boost COVID-19 Vaccine Capacity

Washington The Biden administration is allowing billions of dollars for drugmakers to scale up domestic production of COVID-19 vaccines in hopes of building the capacity to produce an additional 1 billion shots annually to share with the world.

Under the new initiative, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority is soliciting drug companies that have demonstrated their ability to make more effective mRNA vaccines to bid for government investment in increasing their manufacturing capabilities. Pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna produce two shots of mRNA that are approved by the United States.

The Biden administration believes that the enhanced capacity of COVID-19 shots will help alleviate global dose shortages, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, halt preventable deaths and limit the development of potentially new, more dangerous variants of the virus.

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The initiative comes as the Biden White House faces mounting pressure at home and abroad over inequality in the global vaccine supply — the United States moving toward approving booster doses for all adults while vulnerable people in poor nations wait for their first dose of protection.

There are no firm agreements yet with Moderna or Pfizer to take over the US on the investment, but the Biden administration hopes that enhanced manufacturing capacity, through support for company facilities, equipment, personnel or training, will be available by mid-2022 to allow more COVID doses to be shared. 19 abroad as well as to prepare for the next public health emergency.

The announcement was previewed Wednesday by an administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter ahead of the official release. The New York Times first reported on the new initiative.

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