July 24, 2020, 09.00 AM

Under the initiative, the government will speed development and buy vaccines — before they are deemed safe and effective — so that the medication can be in hand and quickly distributed once the FDA approves or authorizes its emergency use after clinical trials.

Pfizer and BioNTech said the US will pay $1.95 billion upon receipt of the first 100 million doses it produces, following FDA authorization or approval.

Americans will receive the vaccine for free, the companies said.

Azar said the contract brings to five the number of potential coronavirus vaccines that are under development with US funding.

Nearly two dozen are in various stages of human testing around the world, with several entering the final test to prove if they really work.

Trump said Tuesday at a briefing that “the vaccines are coming, and they’re coming a lot sooner than anyone thought possible, by years.”

As early as next week, a vaccine created by the National Institutes of Health and Moderna Inc. is set to begin final-stage testing in a study of 30,000 people to see if it really is safe and effective.

A few other vaccines have begun smaller late-stage studies in other countries, and in the US a series of huge studies are planned to begin each month through fall in hopes of, eventually, having several vaccines to use.

Read also: Chinas Covid-19 Vaccine Brought to Indonesia for Phase 3 Clinical Trials

Pfizer is finishing an earlier stage of testing to determine which of four possible candidates to try in a larger, final study.

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