US reaches deal with Moderna for omicron COVID-19 vaccine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration said Friday it has reached an agreement with Moderna to purchase 66 million doses of the company’s next-generation COVID-19 vaccine that targets the highly transmissible omicron variant, ample supply this winter for anyone who wants the booster upgrade.

The order for the bivalent vaccine follows an announcement last month that the federal government had obtained 105 million doses of a similar vaccine from rival drugmaker Pfizer. Both orders are expected to ship in the fall and winter, assuming regulators approve of their effectiveness. The Pentagon said the Moderna contract was worth $1.74 billion.

The omicron strain has been dominant in the United States since December, with the BA.5 subvariant now causing a massive wave of infections across the country, even infecting President Joe Biden.

“We must remain vigilant in our fight against COVID-19 and continue to expand Americans’ access to the best vaccines and treatments,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “As we look to fall and winter, we’re doing just that — making sure Americans have the tools they need to stay safe and help our nation move forward.”

The U.S. orders with Pfizer and Moderna include options to purchase 300 million doses each, but reaching that total will require more congressional funding, the Biden administration said.

About 261 million Americans have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine, but only 108 million have received a booster.


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