July 22, 2020 / 11:59 AM / 12 days ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. has contract with Pfizer for 100 mln coronavirus vaccine doses -Azar

(Adds other vaccines, comments)

WASHINGTON, July 22 (Reuters) - U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Wednesday the federal government has signed a contract with Pfizer Inc for 100 million doses of coronavirus vaccine, once it is approved.

“We just signed a contract with global pharmaceutical leader Pfizer to produce 100 million doses of vaccine starting in December of this year with an option to buy another half a billion doses,” Azar said on Fox News. “Now those would of course have to be safe and effective.”

According to an announcement released by Azar’s agency and the Defense Department, Pfizer will deliver the doses if the product receives Emergency Use Authorization or licensure from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after completing demonstration of safety and efficacy in a large Phase 3 clinical trial.

Azar said that out of the five vaccine candidates that “prioritize” the United States, three had had good results in the first phase of testing. Those include the Pfizer drug, as well as vaccines being developed by Moderna and Astrazeneca.

“It’s a very serious situation that we’re facing now but we have tools to deal with it,” Azar said, noting there are three therapeutics: Remdesivir, steroid and convalescent plasma.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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