“We are prepared to offer vaccine manufacturers who have demonstrated the capability to make mRNA vaccines substantial government resources to help them expand their domestic infrastructure and capacity (such as facilities, equipment, staff, or training) in order to make an additional 1 billion doses of vaccine available per year,” an administration official said.
The official added, “In the short term, this would make a significant amount of Covid-19 vaccine doses available at cost for global use, and in the long term, it would help establish sustained domestic manufacturing capacity to rapidly produce vaccines for future threats. We hope companies will take us up on this plan to help get more people here at home and around the world vaccinated.”
The US Department of Health and Human Services intends to issue a “request for information” to private companies soliciting their feedback on the best way to proceed. The administration is looking to move quickly and hopes to have responses within 30 days of the request. It would essentially be the federal government subsidizing these efforts to produce a billion doses of the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna by the middle of next year, an official said.
The US has pledged to donate to more than 1 billion Covid-19 vaccines to low- and lower-middle-income countries around the world to help end the pandemic. The President has also called on other world leaders to increase their vaccine donations to countries that need them the most to help end the pandemic.
The President has also said $2 billion in US contributions would go toward a global coronavirus vaccine initiative and would provide support to COVAX, which is an initiative led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, along with the World Health Organization and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. Biden also pledged an additional $2 billion in funding contingent on contributions from other nations and dose delivery targets being met.
The effort to vaccinate the rest of the world is happening as the Biden administration pushes to get as many Americans as possible vaccinated. The latest data available from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that the risk of being hospitalized with Covid-19 is nearly 19 times higher for unvaccinated adults than it is for fully vaccinated adults.
The US is now averaging more than 84,000 new Covid-19 cases each day, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is about a 13% increase over last week. Hospitalizations remain relatively steady overall, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services, but hospitalizations are rising steeply — up at least 50% compared to a week ago — in 10 states, most in the Northwest and Mountain regions.
The US Food and Drug Administration is also expected to decide on Friday whether to authorize emergency use of Covid-19 boosters for all adults. A CDC spokesperson said on Tuesday that the CDC’s vaccine advisers will also meet Friday to discuss expanding booster eligibility for Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine. These advisers typically meet only once a vaccine has received authorization from the FDA, further indicating that a decision on the booster shots could come ahead of Friday’s meeting.
This story has been updated with additional information.