Jul 29, 2022 - Health

Biden administration to buy 66 million doses of Moderna's Omicron booster

Picture of a person holding a Moderna vaccine

Photo: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration announced Friday that it has reached a deal with Moderna to purchase 66 million doses of its Omicron variant-specific vaccine booster.

The big picture: This specific Moderna vaccine targets the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants, the latter of which is considered the most transmissible subvariant and has become the dominant strain in the U.S.

  • The Department of Health and Human Services last month secured 105 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech variant-specific booster shot.
  • Both boosters are still pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Once authorized, HHS will receive the doses in early fall.

Between the lines: With both booster versions, the U.S. would have 171 million booster doses available. But that would not be enough to cover every person in the U.S.

  • "Both Moderna and Pfizer agreements include options for a total of 600 million doses — 300 million from each company — but these options can only be exercised with additional funding from Congress," per an HHS press release.

What they're saying: "We must stay vigilant in our fight against COVID-19 and continue to expand Americans' access to the best vaccines and treatments," said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra.

  • "As we look to the fall and winter, we’re doing just that—ensuring Americans have the tools they need to stay safe and help keep our nation moving forward."
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