Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former FDA Commissioner and current board of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer confirmed a New York Times report that the drug company offered to sell 100 million more doses of the COVID vaccine to the Trump administration but they refused the offer.
“Pfizer did offer an additional allotment coming out of that plan, basically the second quarter allotment, to the United States government multiple times — and as recently as after the interim data came out and we knew this vaccine looked to be effective,”Gottlieb said in an interview with CNBC.
“I think that the government made a bet that they are going to option or advance purchase vaccines 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,” he continued.
The White House denied they turned down Pfizer’s offer.
But, the chief science adviser for Operation Warp Speed, Moncef Slaoui defended the administration’s decision to not buy more doses.
“Let me remind everybody what our strategy is and has always been: We selected six different vaccines to build a portfolio to manage the risk that some may work and some may not work, but also to ensure that as more than one would work we would accumulate vaccine doses from this portfolio of vaccines,” Slaoui said on ABC.
“In the summer if somebody came to us and said ‘Let’s buy more of this vaccine or that vaccine,’ no one reasonable would buy more from any one of those vaccines because we didn’t know which one would work and which one may be better than the other,” he added.
The initial 100 million doses from Pfizer would only be enough to inoculate 50 million people since the vaccine requires two shots. That’s well short of 70-75% of Americans that Dr. Fauci said need to be vaccinated so things can return to normal, Axios reports.