By CATHERINE THORBECKE, ABC News

(NEW YORK) — The U.S. government announced Wednesday it has reached a deal to gain access to at least 100 million doses of a Pfizer coronavirus vaccine candidate if it proves to be safe and effective.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Defense announced the agreement with Pfizer for the large-scale production of over 100 million doses following the vaccine’s successful manufacture. Upon receipt of the first 100 million doses, the U.S. will pay the drugmaker $1.95 billion.

The Trump administration has previously committed to free access for COVID-19 vaccines for Americans who can’t afford it.

The agreement also allows the U.S. to acquire an additional 500 million doses.

“Through Operation Warp Speed, we are assembling a portfolio of vaccines to increase the odds that the American people will have at least one safe, effective vaccine as soon as the end of this year,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.

“Depending on success in clinical trials, today’s agreement will enable the delivery of approximately 100 million doses of vaccine being developed by Pfizer and BioNTech,” Azar added.

Pfizer and German partner BioNTech are on track to begin an anticipated Phase 2b/4 safety and efficacy trial later this month. Pfizer is seeking regulatory review as early as October 2020 and aims to manufacture up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021.

“We’ve been committed to making the impossible possible by working tirelessly to develop and produce in record time a safe and effective vaccine to help bring an end to this global health crisis,” Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement.
 
Bourla added the company is “honored to be a part of this effort to provide Americans access to protection from this deadly virus.”

Phase 1/2 clinical trials are currently underway for the vaccines in the U.S. and Germany.

The U.S. government has similar agreements in place with other vaccine creators including Moderna and Oxford/AstraZenaca.

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