The agreement includes the option to buy other COVID-19 vaccines candidates that Moderna is developing, which could include booster shots or vaccines for children, the company announced in a press release.
Moderna's vaccine is currently authorized for ages 18 and older but said last week it has submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to expand emergency use to kids as young as 12.
Pfizer and Moderna have fueled booster questions by estimating that people might need yearly shots, just like with flu vaccinations, and the companies are working to have some candidates ready this fall. But companies will not decide when boosters get used. That will be up to health authorities in each country.
Other experts say boosters may be needed only every few years, but there are still concerns regarding some virus variants.
In total, the U.S. has now committed to buy 500 million doses of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine.
“We appreciate the collaboration with the U.S 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,” said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna. “We remain focused on being proactive as the virus evolves by leveraging the flexibility of our mRNA platform to stay ahead of emerging variants.”
As vaccinations have slowed it's become clear the U.S. is unlikely to meet President Joe Biden's goal to have 70% of adults partially vaccinated by July 4. Roughly 64% of Americans older than 18 have had at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.