Marines begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines in late 2020.
(Photo by U.S. Marine Corps photo by Colonel Howard K. Marotto)

The Biden administration purchased an additional 100 million COVID-19 vaccines Pfizer Inc. and Modern Inc. recently. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Department of Defense (DOD) made the acquisitions.

Biden Administration Orders 100 Million Additional COVID-19 Vaccines

The orders bring total vaccines purchased up to 600 million doses. The number provides enough to vaccinate 300 million people. Each company will deliver 300 million doses in regular increments through July 2021. Each company will also leverage U.S.-based manufacturing capacity to fill, finish and ship vials.

“As the President directed, we are expanding our supply of COVID vaccines to protect people as quickly as possible,” said Acting HHS Secretary Norris Cochran in a press release. “These purchases will allow us to accelerate our vaccination efforts to get shots into the arms of the American people. While we rapidly ramp up the pace of vaccinations, I encourage everyone to take actions now to protect themselves and their families: wear a mask, wash your hands often, and practice physical distancing.”

The companies began manufacturing doses of their respective vaccines at the same time. The efforts began last year, including clinical trials and then scaling up for large-scale manufacturing.

The U.S. government paid Pfizer-BioNTech approximately $6 billion so far. Meanwhile, Modern’s haul thus far runs to approximately $5.75 billion.

Rough Sailing With COVID

While the purchase of COVID-19 vaccines finally looks to be making an impact, the Defense Department has faced struggles and criticisms throughout the pandemic. The DOD first halted all travel to COVID-affected countries nearly a year ago, in March 2020. Then the National Guard quickly spurred the response at home, setting up testing sites across the country.

But then a series of missteps shook confidence in the military response. Notably, the U.S. Navy committed several blunders that played out publicly. From underutilizing U.S. Hospital Ships Comfort and Mercy, to a Capt. Crozier’s firing over a near-mutiny to get medical help for sick sailors, the pandemic proved tough navigating.

So now it appears DOD and HHS finally secured enough vaccines for all Americans. Hopefully that signals better days ahead soon.

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