May 6, 2022 - Health

COVID booster supply in danger, White House documents show

A vial of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
Photo: Hannah Beier/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The White House may run out of COVID-19 vaccines by September if it calls for all Americans to get a second booster, according to COVID budget documents obtained by STAT News.

Why it matters: Second booster doses are only available to people over the age of 50 right now. Roughly 400 pages of budget documents sent to Congress and published by STAT show that the Biden administration will need more funding in order to make a second round of boosters available for all ages later this year.

Details: The White House will need 87 million more doses of the Pfizer vaccine in order to call for second boosters for all by Sept. 1, according to the documents.

  • The Biden administration may not order any new booster doses from Moderna, Novavax or Johnson & Johnson.
  • There will potentially be a low supply of booster shots for children, which haven't been authorized.

By the numbers: The Biden and Trump administrations spent a combined $30.4 billion on COVID-19 vaccine purchases and $21.8 billion on therapeutics. The U.S. government spent $6.4 billion to send over-the-counter COVID-19 tests to the American public, as of Feb. 8.

  • The White House still has $5.6 billion in Defense Production Act funding.
  • The Omicron variant drained the Biden administration's remaining resources last winter as the government helped pay for uninsured Americans to receive COVID testing, vaccines, therapeutics and medical supplies.

Flashback: In March, officials said the Biden administration did not have the budget to buy fourth COVID-19 vaccine shots for everyone.

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Editor's note: This article has been corrected to reflect that the government spent $21.8 billion on therapeutics (not $21.8 million).

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