How many Pfizer and Moderna vaccines did the US buy and when will they arrive?

The US government has so far ordered enough Covid-19 vaccines to vaccinate 200 million people.
The US government has so far ordered enough Covid-19 vaccines to vaccinate 200 million people.
Image: REUTERS/Yuki Iwamura
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On Dec. 23, the US government placed a second order for the Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech, for 100 million doses. That brings total orders for the country to 400 million doses between the two shots authorized by the Food and Drug Administration—enough for 200 million people, since both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses per person. The US population is about 329 million.

All 400 million doses are due to be delivered by the end of July 2021, but both companies have committed to delivering doses to hospitals, pharmacies, long-term care facilities, and other vaccination sites on a rolling basis until then, with some intermediate deadlines:

Including funding for vaccine development, trials, and purchase orders, the government has given each company about $4 billion for Covid-19 vaccines. Additional orders are likely forthcoming; the government’s contract with Moderna includes an option for an additional 300 million doses, and 400 million from Pfizer. Officials also have plans to order 300 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine, assuming it can assuage FDA concerns about safety and trial transparency.

Exactly when the ordered doses will be delivered remains dependent on the companies’ ability to source raw materials and vaccination kit supplies. Earlier this month, Pfizer announced that it would deliver 50 million fewer doses this year than anticipated—25 million, instead of 75 million—because of supply chain issues. The company’s new deal with the government includes a stipulation that the government use the Defense Production Act to increase the availability of key vaccine ingredients.

Final delivery dates will could also change depending on logistical hiccups in the shipping process. Miscommunication between states and the federal government, as well as a deficit of cold storage facilities, have already delayed the distribution of some early vaccine deliveries.