The Biden administration pulled from its limited COVID-19 countermeasures fund Wednesday to purchase 105 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Axios reports.
Under the agreement, which totals $3.2 billion, the government has the option to purchase another 195 million doses, for a potential total of 300 million doses, should the virus surge this fall.
The purchase could include updated vaccines that would be effective against the omicron variant and would remain free for eligible Americans, according to Axios.
“Today’s order will not purchase enough vaccines to offer one of these new booster shots to every adult and unfortunately, comes at the expense of continued funding for other critical pandemic response needs like testing, manufacturing, and domestic vaccine manufacturing,” White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha said in a statement.
According to CNN, the announcement comes amid fighting between the White House and Congress over funding future coronavirus response and mitigation efforts.
Earlier this year, the administration had requested $22.5 billion in funding for vaccines, testing and treatments, and negotiators had reached an agreement on a $10 billion funding package but left Washington for the Easter recess without passing the bill. The legislation has been gridlocked in Congress since, CNN reports.
Wednesday’s new vaccine purchase is being funded by part of $10 billion that the administration reallocated from current COVID-19 response efforts, according to Axios.
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