Trump Administration, Now Scrambling to Acquire Vaccine, Turned Down Pfizer Offer of Additional Doses
The absolute chaotic mess that has been Donald Trump’s response to the coronavirus pandemic came into even sharper focus Monday as the New York Times reported that his administration turned down an offer from Pfizer in the late summer to sell the United States additional doses of the vaccine it was developing.
Now, because Pfizer subsequently made commitments to other countries, the company may not be able to provide more of its vaccine in the United States until June 2021. The company’s agreement with the Trump administration is for 100 million doses. Because Pfizer’s vaccine is a two-dose regimen that means Trump purchased enough to immunize only 50 million Americans.
The realization that the U.S. will be shut out of additional Pfizer vaccine purchases for the foreseeable future likely is the impetus behind the Trump’s plan to issue an executive order on Tuesday that he says will ensure Americans have access to the coronavirus vaccine before other countries. A draft of the “America First” statement was obtained and reported Monday afternoon by Fox News.
What is not immediately clear is if signing a piece of paper at Tuesday’s so-called White House “vaccine summit” would carry with it any enforceable presidential powers. Pfizer and Moderna, the other drug company with a vaccine about to expected to receive approval from the FDA, turned down Trump’s invitation to participate. Other invitees included McKesson Corp., Walgreens, CVS, UPS and FedEx.
On Nov. 11, just two days after Pfizer announced that its vaccine was found to be more than 90 percent effective against the coronavirus, the European Union jumped at the chance to finalize a deal with the drug maker and its partner, BioNTech, for 200 million doses. The deal, which they had begun negotiating months earlier, includes an option for the EU to purchase an additional 100 million doses.