The UK has become the first country to sign a deal with a number of pharmaceutical companies for early access to COVID-19 vaccines. The first is with BioNTech and Pfizer, for 30 million doses. The second deal, for 60 million doses, is with French firm Valneva. These are in addition to the 100 million doses of the Oxford University vaccine being developed by AstraZeneca, oyogist.com reports.
The agreement is to buy 90m doses of two vaccines, which would be enough to immunise frontline health workers and care staff, who will be the priority. The government is effectively hedging its bets – the two vaccines work in a different way from the Oxford vaccine, of which it has already bought 100m doses.
It is also urging the public to sign up to take part in trials of Covid-19 vaccines, in the hope of having 500,000 people registered as willing to take part by October.
US government agrees to pay Pfizer and BioNTech $1.95 billion for 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. The government announced on Wednesday that it will pay $1.95 billion for 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE if it proves safe and effective in humans.
Under the agreement, the U.S. can acquire an additional 500 million doses of drug, the Department of Health and Human Services added. BioNTech and U.S.-based Pfizer are jointly developing their potential vaccine.
If it proves safe and effective in a large phase three trial and receives regulatory approval, HHS said Pfizer will begin to deliver doses to locations across the U.S. at the government’s direction. The vaccine would then be made available to Americans “at no cost,” HHS said. It’s unclear who the first doses of the potential vaccine would go to and how that decision would be made.
The companies previously said they expect to begin a large trial with up to 30,000 participants later this month, if they receive regulatory approval.