The Trump administration reportedly rejected an offer from Pfizer for more COVID-19 vaccine doses, and now other countries might get them

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The vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech is expected to be in high demand. Dado Ruvic/Reuters
  • The Trump administration declined an offer from Pfizer in late summer for more doses of its COVID-19 vaccine, according to The New York Times.

  • The US might struggle to secure additional doses of the vaccine before next summer given Pfizer's commitments to other countries.

  • The Trump administration has purchased 100 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech's two-dose vaccine, enough to vaccinate 50 million Americans.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Trump administration declined an offer from Pfizer in late summer for additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine that the pharmaceutical giant developed with BioNTech, The New York Times reported Monday, citing people familiar with the matter.

Now that the UK has approved the vaccine and other countries, including the US, are expected to authorize it as well, Americans may struggle to get more doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine given commitments the company has made to other countries, The Times said. The US has already ordered enough of Pfizer's drug to vaccinate 50 million people, but the company may not be able to offer more doses to the country beyond that until next June, though other companies' vaccines remain promising as well.

A senior administration official told reporters on a call on Monday that the Times story was "false," with one official adding: "I'll also tell you we're in the middle of a negotiation right now, and can't talk publicly about it, but we feel absolutely confident we will get the vaccine doses for which we've contracted and we'll have sufficient number of doses to vaccinate all Americans who desire one before the end of the second quarter 2021."

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

"The US government placed an initial order of 100 million doses for Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, and Pfizer is ready to begin shipping initial doses soon after receiving an emergency-use authorization from FDA," Pfizer said in a statement. "Any additional doses beyond the 100 million are subject to a separate and mutually acceptable agreement. The company is not able to comment on any confidential discussions that may be taking place with the US government."

"Recognizing the urgency of the need, our manufacturing teams have been working around the clock so we can bring the vaccine to the world as quickly, efficiently, and equitably as possible," the statement added.

The Trump administration purchased 100 million doses of Pfizer and BioNTech's vaccine as part of Operation Warp Speed, the government's initiative to accelerate the development and distribution of a vaccine. But that vaccine is a two-dose treatment, so 100 million doses will at most go to 50 million Americans.

"We are confident that we will have 100 million doses of Pfizer's vaccine as agreed to in our contract, and beyond that, we have five other vaccine candidates," a representative for the US Department of Health and Human Services told The Times when asked whether the Trump administration missed a "crucial" chance to purchase more of the vaccine.

President Donald Trump and others in his administration have misleadingly suggested the Pfizer vaccine was developed as a result of Operation Warp Speed, but the pharmaceutical giant has maintained that it received no money from the government in that regard.

Trump is set to hold a White House "Vaccine Summit" on Tuesday.

Both Pfizer and Moderna - another company that has submitted an application to the Food and Drug Administration for emergency authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine - declined invitations to attend the summit, according to STAT.

In November, Trump baselessly accused Pfizer of delaying the news of its vaccine development's success until after the election to hurt him politically. Trump has falsely claimed he won the election and has refused to concede to President-elect Joe Biden.

"Pfizer and others even decided to not assess the results of their vaccine; in other words, not come out with a vaccine until just after the election," Trump said at the time.

In the days following the election, Pfizer announced that its vaccine was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19.

Allana Akhtar contributed reporting.

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