von der Leyen and the 4.1 billion doses/ NY Times

I am a week late getting this NYT article out.  While the Times hints that von der Leyen bought the Pfizer vaccine for her political survival, the paper provides no evidence. My guess is that this is a cover story.  You have to explain 4.1 billion doses for 448 million people some way.  Politics is easy to blame.

The new contract will include a 900-million-dose order through 2023, with an option for another 900 million, Ms. von der Leyen said in an interview.

“I am convinced that we are in this for the long haul,” she said…

Accounts of how the deals came about, related by Ms. von der Leyen, Mr. Bourla, Mr. Marett and another nine officials and experts involved, reveal a striking alignment of political survival and corporate hustle…

Mr. Bourla said he built a bond with Ms. von der Leyen…

Mr. Bourla said he expected a booster would be needed six to twelve months after people get their second shot, although some public health experts note that it is not clear yet whether that will be necessary. And the assessment includes a worst-case scenario for a new vaccine to target an “escape mutant,” a variant of the coronavirus that is too resistant to existing shots. The draft says the European Union would require 640 million doses of this type of vaccine for two doses per adult...

Ms. von der Leyen said the European Union could still procure doses from other companies. [Yet more vaccine???]

She said the bloc was following the development of protein-based vaccines made by Novavax and Sanofi, as well as mRNA vaccines from Moderna, which are already being used in Europe, and CureVac, which is under review by the E.U. regulator. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which was rolled out in Europe this month, is also attractive because of its single-dose regimen and easy storage, she said.

The Pfizer shot is also expensive. While the financial details of the new agreement have not been disclosed, the previous contract priced the shot at approximately 15.5 euros, or about 19 dollars, making it the second-most expensive vaccine in the region after Moderna.

European Union members will each decide whether they want to use their full allocations of doses, or leave some for others to absorb, or to be resold or donated. They will also be free to make bilateral agreements with other pharmaceutical companies for vaccines in the future… [And even more possible vaccine] 

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