Donald Trump buys MILLIONS of ‘safe and effective’ COVID-19 vaccine doses

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The pharmaceutical company has planned to release its first billion doses, and has said that it could be released in September.

After President Donald Trump demanded a vaccine, the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agreed to provide up to $1.2 billion to accelerate British drugmaker

AstraZeneca’s vaccine development and secure 300 million doses for the United States.

US Health Secretary Alex Azar said: “This contract with AstraZeneca is a major milestone in Operation Warp Speed’s work toward a safe, effective, widely available vaccine by 2021.”

The first doses could be available in the United States as early as October, according to a statement from HHS.

Vaccines, even in their rushed stages, are seen by world leaders as the only real way to restart their stalled economies and allow a return to normal life.

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Trump told reporters at the White House when asked about the AstraZenca announcement that more news is coming.

He said: “We have a lot of things happening on the vaccine front or the therapeutic front.

“You’re going to have a lot of big announcements over the next week or two.”

Trump, during a Thursday visit to a Ford Motor Co plant in Michigan, also said the US military is “in gear so we can give out 150 to 250 million shots quickly.”

The vaccine, previously known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 and now as AZD1222, was developed by the University of Oxford and licensed to AstraZeneca.

The US deal will allow scientists to subject the vaccine to a late-stage, or Phase III, clinical trial of the vaccine with 30,000 people in the United States.

Immunity to the new coronavirus is uncertain and so the use of vaccines is unclear.

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AstraZeneca, based in Cambridge in the UK, said it had concluded agreements for at least 400 million doses of the vaccine and secured manufacturing capacity for one billion doses, with first deliveries due to begin in September.

AstraZeneca has already agreed to deliver 100 million doses to people in Britain, with 30 million as soon as September.

Ministers have promised Britain will get first access to the vaccine.

A Phase I/II clinical trial of AZD1222 began last month to assess safety, immunogenicity and efficacy in over 1,000 healthy volunteers aged 18 to 55 across several trial centres in southern England.

Data from the trial is expected shortly.

AstraZeneca is now the most valuable company on Britain’s blue-chip FTSE 100 Index because of their vaccine development.

Other vaccine development projects backed by the US government include deals with Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Sanofi.

Sanofi’s chief angered the French government earlier this month when he said vaccine doses produced in the US could go to American patients first, given the country had supported the research financially.

There are currently no approved treatments or vaccines for COVID-19.

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