While there is not yet a vaccine available to fight COVID-19, President Donald Trump is ensuring that the U.S. will be ready to rock and roll once one is developed.
According to Breitbart, the president announced Tuesday that he had struck a deal with biotech company Moderna to purchase “100 million doses” of a yet-to-be-approved coronavirus vaccine for a whopping $1.5 billion.
“I’m pleased to announce that we have reached an agreement with Moderna to manufacture and deliver 100 million doses of their coronavirus vaccine candidate,” the president said Tuesday, according to Breitbart.
“The federal government will own these vaccine doses,” Trump explained. “We’re buying them.”
In addition to concerns about when a vaccine may finally become available for the deadly coronavirus, many have expressed worry about ensuring that everyone in the country can be vaccinated for COVID-19. But President Trump is doing his part to minimize the problem.
With 100 million doses of a vaccine on-hand, the federal government will be able to supply doses of the drug to nearly a third of the country.
According to Breitbart, a release from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Tuesday explained that these should be “available to the American people at no cost.”
The future ahead
“If these doses are used in a COVID-19 [coronavirus disease] vaccination campaign, the vaccine would be available to the American people at no cost,” the department wrote. However, HHS noted that “[a]s is customary with government-purchased vaccines, healthcare professionals could charge for the cost of administering the vaccine.”
HHS also said in its release that the federal government “can acquire up to an additional 400 million doses of the vaccine” if needed.
It remains to be seen how soon those vaccines can be rolled out and how effective they’ll be. Speaking earlier this month, White House coronavirus task force member Dr. Anthony Fauci warned that even once a vaccine is available, it may not be what is classified as “highly effective,” CNBC reported.
“The chances of it being 98% effective is not great, which means you must never abandon the public health approach,” Fauci said, according to CNBC.
The coronavirus disease has so far infected more than 5 Americans and killed nearly 167,000, according to The New York Times.