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U.S. government secures 100 million doses of Pfizer, BioNTech vaccine for $2 billion

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U.S. health officials agreed pay $1.95 billion for 100 million doses of a vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, the latest step in an effort to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

The companies will receive payment upon the receipt of the doses, following regulatory authorization or approval, according to a statement. The government also can acquire up to an additional 500 million doses.

Nations around the world have begun ordering vaccines that are still being tested as part of their efforts to try to blunt the impact of the pandemic that’s roiled economies and killed more than 600,000 people since the beginning of the year. The U.S. has already ordered experimental shots developed by the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca Plc.

The vaccine would be available to the American people for free, according to the government.

Pfizer shares rose more than 5% in pre-market trading. BioNTech climbed about 7%.

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