WASHINGTON — The Biden administration is making billions of dollars available to drug makers to scale up domestic production of COVID-19 vaccines in hopes of building capacity to produce an additional 1 billion injections per year to share with the world.
Under the new initiative, the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority of the Department of Health and Human Services is asking pharmaceutical companies that have demonstrated their ability to make the more effective mRNA vaccines to bid for government investment in the scale up their production capacities. Drug makers Pfizer and Moderna produce the two US-approved mRNA shots.
The Biden administration believes the increased capacity of COVID-19 injections will help reduce a worldwide dose shortage, particularly in low and middle-income countries, halt preventable deaths and develop potentially new, more dangerous variants of the drug. virus will limit.
The initiative comes as Biden’s White House comes under increasing pressure at home and abroad over inequalities in global vaccine supply — as the US is on track to approve booster shots for all adults, while vulnerable people in poorer countries wait. on their first dose of protection.
There are no firm agreements yet with Moderna or Pfizer to take on the investment in the US, but the Biden administration hopes the improved manufacturing capacity, through support of the company’s facilities, equipment, personnel or training, will be available by mid-2022. will be. to share more COVID-19 doses abroad and to prepare for the next public health emergency.
The announcement was reviewed on Wednesday by a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the matter before its official release. The New York Times first reported on the new initiative.