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Feds passed up chance to lock in more Pfizer vaccine doses

by ZEKE MILLER and JONATHAN LEMIRE | Story Source    Monday December 14, 2020 - 1:05 AM
PANDEMIC
* Vaccines *
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President Donald Trump speaks after awarding the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor, to Olympic gold medalist and former University of Iowa wrestling coach Dan Gable in the Oval Office of the White House, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump aims to take credit Tuesday for the speedy development of forthcoming coronavirus vaccines, even as his administration is coming under scrutiny for failing to lock in a chance to buy millions of additional doses of one of the leading contenders.

That decision could delay the delivery of a second batch of doses until manufacturer Pfizer fulfills other international contracts.

The revelation, confirmed Monday by people familiar with the matter, came on the eve of Trump's plans to host a White House summit aimed at celebrating the expected approval of the first vaccine later this week. His administration is seeking to tamp down public skepticism over the vaccine and secure a key component of the Republican president's legacy.

The focus was to be on the administration's plans to distribute and administer the vaccine, but officials from President-elect Joe Biden's transition team, which will oversee the bulk of the largest vaccination program in the nation's history once he takes office Jan. 20, were not invited.

Pfizer's vaccine is expected to be endorsed by a panel of Food and Drug Administration advisers as soon as this week, with delivery of 100 million doses — enough for 50 million Americans — expected in coming months.

Under its contract with Pfizer, the Trump administration committed to buy an initial 100 million doses, with an option to purchase as many as five times more.

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