World

US surpasses 15 million corona cases

WASHINGTON: US coronavirus cases crossed the 15 million mark on Tuesday as regulators moved a step closer to approving a vaccine. President-elect Joe Biden, setting ambitious goals to change the course of the coronavirus pandemic, vowed on Tuesday to get “at least 100 million Covid vaccine shots into the arms of the American people” during his first 100 days in office, and said he would make it a “national priority” to get kids back to school during that time.
The pledge, which Biden made while introducing the members of his health team in Wilmington, Delaware, tracks with the goals set by President Trump. But in creating clear bench marks for himself, Biden is taking a certain risk. He will undoubtedly be held to the 100 million promise at the 100-day mark on April 30, and fulfilling it will require no hiccups in manufacturing or distributing the vaccine and a willingness by Americans to be vaccinated.
Biden’s announcement came as fresh details emerged about how Pfizer, the pharma giant whose vaccine could receive regulatory approval in the US this weekend, repeatedly urged the Trump administration to lock in a bigger supply. Before the vaccine was proved successful in clinical trials, the administration repeatedly turned down the chance to expand its pre-order beyond the 100 million doses it agreed to buy from Pfizer last July. The administration is now seeking to double the pre-order; otherwise it will run out of Pfizer’s vaccine by around March, according to people familiar with the talks. But Pfizer may not be able to deliver more doses for Americans until as late as June because the firm signed deals with other governments, including the EU. Pfizer, a US firm, too could face a consumer backlash if other nations are using its vaccine while Americans are forced to wait.

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