We Only Get 100 Million Doses of the Pfizer Vaccine. Is This a Problem?

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The news of the day is that the federal government contracted for only 100 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine (enough for 50 million people) and declined Pfizer’s offer during the summer to buy more. Now Pfizer says their excess supply has already been promised to other countries, and we won’t be able to get more until June.

This is all true, but keep in mind that the feds also contracted for a bunch of other vaccines. All of these are currently in Phase 3 testing:

  • Moderna: 100 million doses (50 million people)
  • Johnson & Johnson: 100 million doses (100 million people)
  • Sanofi/GlaxoSmithKline: 100 million doses (50 million people)
  • AstraZeneca: 300 million doses (150 million people)
  • Novavax: 100 million doses (50 million people)

All of these vaccines are behind Pfizer in the race for approval, but manufacturing is ongoing. This means that when they get approved—and at least some of them are bound to be approved over the next month or so—there will be additional doses of vaccine available. Given this timeline, along with the pace at which the vaccines can be rolled out to the public, it’s likely that supply won’t turn out to be a big bottleneck. By the time we run out of Pfizer’s vaccine, others will be online and deliverable.

There’s a lot of speculation here, of course. It’s always possible that no other vaccine will ever be approved and we’ll face a shortage. But it’s really not very likely.

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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