Washington (AFP) – The United States on on Tuesday signed a $1.95 billion agreement with US pharma giant Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech for 100 million doses of their experimental COVID-19 vaccine, part of an aggressive push to start immunizing Americans early next year.

It is the biggest deal to date under Operation Warp Speed, intended to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of coronavirus vaccines, therapeutics, and diagnostics.

Pfizer and BioNTech, which are developing the drug together, said in statements that the American people would receive the future vaccine “for free” in line with the Trump administration’s pledge.

Under the agreement, the US government has placed an initial order for 100 million doses to be delivered if regulatory approval is granted.

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