Misc 04/12/2020

Pfizer cuts its 2020 vaccine production forecast

Supply chain problems reduce targets from 100 million to 50 million doses

Quim Aranda
2 min
Representació de vials amb la vacuna de Pfizer

LondonPfizer has lowered its vaccine production targets for 2020. Problems in the components' supply chain have forced the North American pharmaceutical company, which works together with the German biotech company BioNTech, to put the breaks on their production, thus demonstrating that once the great challenge of having a licensed dose that is effective enough to combat the coronavirus has been overcome, another obstacle now arises that is perhaps just as difficult: delivering billions of vials in the minimum time possible - without compromising safety.

In recent weeks Pfizer had reported that it planned to produce 50 million doses of its vaccine by 2020, dropping the previous milestone of 100 million. Pfizer's vaccine requires two doses, meaning that with 50 million, 25 million people could be immunized. In statements to Reuters, a spokesman for the company said that "the level of increase of raw materials in the supply chain has taken longer than expected". He also mentioned that the fact that the results of the phase III clinical trial were obtained later than expected also contributed to the delay in production. However, the company says that modifications to Pfizer's production lines have been completed and the vaccine is already being produced at a fast pace.

The Wall Street Journal, the first to report on the problems late Thursday night in the United States, cited a source directly involved in the development of the vaccine who said that the fact that "some of the early batches of raw materials did not meet standards" was the initial cause of the delays.

In November, Pfizer applied for emergency clearance of its covid-19 vaccine from U.S. regulators. U.S. officials expect the vaccine to obtain regulatory clearance this month, and the U.S. government expects its first allocation of the vaccine to include 6.4 million doses.

UK regulators have already authorised it for use and in the last few hours, the Daily Telegraph reports that on Friday, the first batch of 800,000 doses has already arrived on UK soil. At this point, however, it is not known when and how many doses may arrive before the end of 2020.