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Pfizer in pact to provide U.S. with 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

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Pfizer said Wednesday it has signed a $1.95 billion pact to provide the U.S. government with 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. Americans will receive the vaccine for free, the pharmaceutical company said. 

The deal for the vaccine, which is being developed with BioNTech, includes the right to purchase up to an additional 500 million doses, Pfizer said in a statement. Pfizer said it's on track to start the next safety and efficacy trial later this month, and is aiming to seek regulatory review as early as October. It could manufacture up to 100 million doses by the end of 2020, it added.

The deal represents the latest government effort to lock up treatments and vaccines for the disease caused by the coronavirus, which has infected about 4 million people in the U.S. and stalled the economy. It's also part of President Donald Trump's "Operation Warp Speed" vaccine program, which aims to develop multiple COVID-19 vaccines simultaneously. 

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COVID-19 cases are surging in states including Texas and Florida, and President Donald Trump on Tuesday warned that the situation could "get worse before it gets better."

Pfizer said it could potentially manufacturer more than 1.3 million doses by the end of 2021. 

"Now those would, of course, have to be safe and effective" and be approved by the Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Fox News. 

Nearly two dozen potential vaccines are in various stages of human testing worldwide, with a handful entering necessary late-stage testing to prove effectiveness.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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