Pfizer will provide 100 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine if and when it is approved later this year under a “historic” deal with the government, President Trump said Wednesday, as three states and D.C. scrambled in the meantime to stanch the virus by mandating masks outside the home.
Mr. Trump used a White House briefing to trumpet the nearly $2 billion agreement with Pfizer and its partner, Germany company BioNTech, which includes rights to obtain 500 million more doses and is part of a broader effort to begin administering a vaccine by 2021.
Federal officials said the shots would be provided to Americans at no cost after a Food and Drug Administration review, which is on track for the fall.
“Hopefully the approval process will go very quickly,” Mr. Trump said. “We think we have a winner there.”
He also said his administration is surging testing to nursing homes, where many COVID-19 deaths have occurred, and sent a “message of love” to seniors who are hunkered in their homes due to the dangers the virus poses to them.
The president took the briefing-room podium solo, without his top scientists, for the second time in as many days after holding his first coronavirus briefing in over two months on Tuesday.
Mr. Trump is highlighting scientific progress even as he acknowledges a surge in infections and hospitalizations across the Sun Belt.
The president partly blamed the increase on racial-justice protests that erupted in late May and early June. He also blamed social events at bars and beaches, though said states like Arizona are showing some signs of improvement.
“They’re all doing a good job, they’re very talented people,” Mr. Trump said of hard-hit states with Republican governors.
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