Covid Stimulus Watch Adds $12 Billion in Federal Contracts Related to Pandemic Relief

By Mellissa Chang
September 18, 2020

Covid Stimulus Watch now contains over 3,000 federal contracts related to pandemic relief spending. The contracts were awarded to 1,644 companies—approximately two contracts per company—and the average contract amount is $3.8 million. The $12 billion obligated is spread across 26 federal agencies and covers a wide variety of goods and services ranging from medical equipment to IT services.

Spending Categories

The top five spending categories constitute more than half of all contract spending at $8.2 billion and are related to medical equipment and research. These categories include contracts for vaccine research through the Operation Warp Speed program. The largest contract, valued at $954 million, was awarded to ModernaTX, a subsidiary of Moderna, for vaccine development.

Surprisingly, the largest number of contracts were issued for janitorial services—perhaps due to increased and enhanced cleaning standards set by the government—followed by medical equipment, laboratory equipment, and professional support services.

Agency Spending

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded the highest dollar amount and number of contracts, issuing 1,342 contracts totaling over $9 billion. Following HHS was the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Department of Defense, which awarded $718 million and $645 million, respectively.

The average HHS and SBA contracts were worth $7 million and $13 million, respectively. In comparison, the average contract awarded by the Department of Defense was $161 million, which issued four contracts for vaccine development through the Operation Warp Speed program.


Of the 1,600 companies to receive federal contracts, 387 are minority-owned. These 355 companies received 660 contracts totaling $708 million in value. Additionally, 244 women-owned business received 490 contracts totaling $712 million. For both minority-owned and women-owned businesses, the spending category with the most contracts was janitorial services at 130 and 96, respectively. 

Additionally, the average contract amount for minority-owned and women-owned businesses was $1.07 million and $1.5 million, respectively. This is approximately one-third of the overall average contract amount of $3.8 million.