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Photo: Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket via Getty Images

The U.S. government has purchased an additional 200 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to be delivered from October 2021 through April 2022, the companies announced Friday.

Why it matters: The Biden administration is continuing to expand its arsenal of vaccine doses as it seeks to help vaccinate the world and potentially deliver booster shots to U.S. citizens if it becomes necessary.

  • The U.S. has now purchased 500 million of the 600 million possible doses negotiated between the Trump administration and Pfizer and BioNtech in July 2020.
  • The purchase is separate from an agreement announced last month for Pfizer and BioNTech to provide the U.S. with 500 million vaccine doses to help vaccinate the world's poorest countries.

What they're saying: The 200 million doses the administration is exercising in its contract is to “prepare for future vaccination needs, including vaccines for children under 12 and possible booster shots if studies show they are necessary," according to a senior Biden administration official.

Between the lines: The announcement notes that the U.S. has the option to "acquire an updated version of the vaccine to address potential variants as well as new formulations of the vaccine, if available and authorized."

  • Also as part of the agreement, Pfizer will provide the U.S. with 65 million pediatric doses should Pfizer’s vaccine be authorized for kids under 12.

Go deeper

Sep 15, 2021 - World

EU pledges 200 million vaccine doses to Africa, low-income nations

Photo: Patrick Meinhardt/AFP via Getty Images

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that the bloc would donate an additional 200 million coronavirus vaccine doses to Africa and low-income nations, AP reports.

Why it matters: The new donation, slated to be delivered by the middle of next year, comes as confirmed cases of the coronavirus have reached 225 million globally.

20 hours ago - Science

Moderna suggests booster shots, citing clinical data

A box of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Indonesia. Photo: Algi Febri Sugita/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Moderna vaccine's efficacy declines a year after it's administered, compared to protection seen in recently inoculated individuals, the vaccine maker announced Wednesday.

Driving the news: Moderna made its case for supporting booster shots, citing clinical trial data that demonstrate breakthrough infections are less common among participants approximately eight months after receiving the first dose compared to approximately 13 months.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Los Angeles County to require vaccination proof at indoor bars — France suspends 3,000 unvaccinated health workers without pay — Moderna suggests booster shots, citing clinical data.
  2. Health: 1 in 500 Americans has died — Cases are falling, but deaths are rising — Study: Gaps in data on Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders alarming amid COVID.
  3. Politics: Gottlieb says CDC hampered U.S. response — 26 states have limited state or local officials' public health powers — Axios-Ipsos poll: 60% of voters back Biden vaccine mandates.
  4. Education: Denver looks to students to close Latino vaccination gap — Federal judge temporarily blocks Iowa's ban on mask mandates in schools — Massachusetts activates National Guard to help with school transportation.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.