Moderna said Wednesday that the US government would buy 200 million more doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in a deal that includes the potential for buying other COVID candidates now in testing, including booster shots.
Under the new deal, the United States will pay $3.3 billion to exercise its remaining options to purchase the shots for $16.50 a dose, according to a spokesman for Cambridge-based Moderna. That price is the same as previous options to purchase Moderna shots already exercised by the government.
The new doses bring the total amount of Moderna vaccine ordered by the government to 500 million doses, of which 217 million doses had been delivered as of June 14, the company said. Of the new doses, 110 million will be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2021, and the rest will be delivered in the first quarter of next year, Moderna said.
The deal isn’t a big surprise; the original supply deal struck with the government in August 2020 included options to bring the total order to 500 million doses. Prior to the latest deal, the government had already exercised two of the options to bring its total order to 300 million doses.
The agreement gives the United States flexibility to choose which type of vaccine it needs at the same price per dose as the earlier Moderna vaccine purchase. This would include pediatric vaccines for kids under 12 or booster shots if they turn out to be needed, a Biden administration official said. Under its Moderna supply deal, the government had faced a deadline for deciding whether to exercise its remaining supply options.
“We appreciate the collaboration with the US 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,” Stéphane Bancel, Moderna’s chief executive, said in its statement.
Moderna is testing several potential booster shots in human trials, including one that uses a lower dose of its existing shot and another that combines its existing shot with a messenger RNA vaccine customized against the beta strain first spotted in South Africa.