June 16 (Reuters) – The U.S. government has purchased an additional 200 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine (MRNA.O), the drugmaker said on Wednesday, including an option to purchase experimental injections that may be in development course.
The additional doses of Moderna, which bring the total US orders to 500 million, could be used for primary inoculation, including children, or as a possible booster, the company said.
Moderna is currently conducting clinical trials to test a third booster of its licensed vaccine as well as an experimental test to protect against variants of the coronavirus.
The US government signed a $ 1.53 billion deal with Moderna last August for 100 million doses of the vaccine, with an option to purchase $ 400 million more.
The company has filed for full approval in the United States for the COVID-19 vaccine currently in use, and has also asked regulators to allow its emergency use in adolescents aged 12 to 17.
US President Joe Biden had set a goal of vaccinating 70% of American adults with at least one injection of COVID-19 by July 4, Independence Day, although the pace of vaccination has slowed significantly since April.
The latest purchase also comes just a week after the Biden administration announced it planned to donate 500 million doses of Pfizer vaccine (PFE.N) to nearly 100 countries amid concerns over the disparity in vaccinations between advanced economies and developing countries.
Moderna, which supplied 217 million doses of its injection to the US government on Monday, said the additional purchase was aimed at ensuring continued supply until the first quarter of next year. The company said it is expected to deliver 110 million doses in the fourth quarter and 90 million in the first quarter of 2022.
Report by Manojna Maddipatla in Bengaluru; Edited by Ramakrishnan M.
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