Under the agreement, the U.S. will get 100 million doses of the vaccine, if it works, and can acquire 500 million additional doses if needed.
The U.S. will pay Pfizer and biotech firm BioNTech $1.95 billion to produce and deliver 100 million doses of their Covid-19 vaccine if it proves safe and effective, the companies announced Wednesday.
It was the largest such deal between the government and companies racing to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
Under the agreement, the U.S. can acquire 500 million additional doses, the Department of Health and Human Services said. Germany-based BioNTech and Pfizer are jointly developing four potential vaccines.
If one of the vaccines proves safe and effective in a large phase three trial and receives regulatory approval, HHS said Pfizer will begin to deliver doses to locations across the U.S. at the government’s direction. The vaccine would then be made available to Americans “at no cost,” HHS said. It’s unclear who the first doses of the potential vaccine would go to and how that decision would be made.
The companies previously said they expect to begin a large trial with up to 30,000 participants later this month, if they receive regulatory approval.
Shares of Pfizer were 3.8% higher in early trading Wednesday and BioNTech stock was up 4%.