US wants to produce one billion doses of mRNA vaccine a year

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Jeff Zients, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator, says the US wants to produce a billion mRNA vaccines a year (AFP/CHIP SOMODEVILLA)

The United States wants to produce one billion more doses of mRNA vaccines each year, starting in 2022, both for the current pandemic and future threats, officials said Wednesday.

"The goal of this program is to expand existing capacity by an additional billion doses per year, with production starting by the second half of 2022," said Jeff Zients, the White House coronavirus response coordinator during a press conference.

To reach that goal, the US health department "is soliciting interest in companies that have experience manufacturing mRNA vaccines to identify opportunities to scale up their production capacity," he said.

This plan, in addition to providing more doses for the US population, would allow the United States to help other countries, too, said Zients. He said that as of Wednesday Washington has delivered 250 million doses to 110 countries for free, more than "every other country combined."

"This program would also help us produce doses within six to nine months of identification of a future pathogen," he added.

President Joe Biden, whose popularity has plummeted since the summer, wants to step up efforts to fight the pandemic.

According to US media reports, Biden is to soon announce the purchase of 10 million antiviral treatments against Covid-19.

The United States, which with more than 760,000 deaths has lost more lives in absolute terms than any other country in the world, continues to record more than 1,000 deaths per day on average over seven days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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