Gottlieb confirms Trump administration struck down Pfizer's offer to produce more COVID-19 vaccine doses

Gottlieb confirms Trump administration struck down Pfizer's offer to produce more COVID-19 vaccine doses
YouTube / CNBC (Screenshot)

Scott Gottlieb — the former U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner and current board member at Pfizer — confirmed the Trump administration did, indeed, strike down the drug manufacturer's offer to produce an additional 100 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

During an interview with CNBC, Gottlieb shed light on the manufacturer's discussions with the Trump administration last summer. At the time of the discussion when Pfizer signed its advance contract to deliver the first 100 million doses, the company opted to also sell to other countries, including sealing a deal to sell more than 200 million dose to the European Union.

"Pfizer did offer an additional allotment coming out of that plan, basically the second quarter allotment, to the U.S. government multiple times — and as recently as after the interim data came out and we knew this vaccine looked to be effective," Gottlieb confirmed.

Gottlieb continued, "I think the government made a bet that they are going to option or advance purchase vaccine from multiple manufacturers. They have agreements now with five or six manufacturers for about 100 million doses each manufacturer. They want to spread those bets."

White House declined Pfizer's offer to secure more Covid vaccine doses: Board member Gottlieb

Since Pfizer and Moderna are the only two drug manufacturers applying for FDA emergency authorization to distribute doses, vaccine supplies will likely be too limited to expedite vaccinations of the full U.S. population. Gottlieb also weighed in with his take on how the Trump administration may be viewing the process.

"I think they're betting that more than one vaccine is going to get authorized and there will be more vaccines on the market, and that perhaps could be why they didn't take up that additional 100 million option agreement."

Despite concerns about the scarcity of vaccine supplies, a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson released a statement to the New York Times expressing confidence in their ability to deliver the doses agreed upon in the initial, contractual agreement.

"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, including 100 million doses on the way from Moderna," the spokesperson said.

Since the full coronavirus vaccine is delivered in two separate doses, the initial 100 million will likely only be enough to inoculate 50 million Americans. With a U.S. population of more than 350 million people, it could be several months before there are enough doses for the entire country.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.