The initial 110 million doses will be delivered during the fourth quarter of 2021, and the remaining 90 million will be delivered during the first quarter of 2022. The doses could be used to vaccinate children or provide booster shots to adults, according to Axios.
“Importantly, the agreement gives the United States flexibility to choose which type of vaccine we will receive from Moderna if Moderna adjusts its formulation,” a Biden administration official told the news outlet.
“For example, for pediatric vaccines or to address variants, and at the same price the U.S. has paid for the original vaccine,” the official said.
Moderna is testing booster vaccines for specific variants, such as the beta variant first identified in South Africa and the gamma variant first identified in Brazil. The company announced in early May that early data showed the booster shot increased the antibody responses against the two variants.
Moderna has filed for full FDA approval of its current COVID-19 vaccine and has also requested emergency authorization for ages 12-17, according to Reuters.
The U.S. had until Tuesday to opt for more doses at the same price that it is currently paying, which is about $16.50 per dose, according to The New York Times. With the new purchase, the U.S. has ordered 500 million vaccine doses from Moderna, with 217 million delivered as of Monday, the company said.
“We appreciate the collaboration with the U.S government for these additional doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine, which could be used for primary vaccination, including of children, or possibly as a booster if that becomes necessary to continue to defeat the pandemic,” Stephane Bancel, the CEO of Moderna, said in the statement.
“We remain focused on being proactive as the virus evolves by leveraging the flexibility of our mRNA platform to stay ahead of emerging variants,” he said.