HHS buys up 105M Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses for fall campaign amid money crunch

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reached a $3.2 billion deal with Pfizer to purchase 105 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in preparation for a fall campaign.

The announcement late Wednesday comes as the Biden administration continues to search for dollars to save its place in line to buy vaccines for the fall as a $10 billion relief package remains stalled in Congress. 

“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to doing everything we can to continue to make vaccines free and widely available to Americans—and this is an important first step to preparing us for the fall,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.

HHS’ $3.2 billion contract with Pfizer also includes options to buy up to 300 million doses. The agency will get a combination of both adult and pediatric doses of the vaccine, with the first deliveries in the early fall, according to a release on the deal.

Food and Drug Administration advisers met June 28 and recommended that an omicron variant be included with any booster doses in the U.S. 

However, it remains unclear whether this deal will solve the administration’s concerns over enough supplies to satisfy the demand for boosters this fall. 

The Biden administration has reallocated money meant for other COVID-19 response efforts to pay for additional vaccines and save its place in line as new vaccines were developed. 

Administration officials have pressed hard for Congress to approve a $10 billion supplemental package that can help pay for additional boosters and treatments. However, that money has been mired in the Senate for months due to disagreements among members over votes on amendments.