A temporary reduction in deliveries will affect all of Europe, the time for the laboratory to improve its production capacities in Belgium.
The Pfizer vaccine victim of its success? Deliveries to EU states of planned quantities of Pfizer / BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines will experience delays in the next three to four weeks due to work at the Belgian factory where they are manufactured, said Friday the German Ministry of Health. “The European Commission and, through it, EU Member States have been informed that Pfizer will not be able to fully meet the promised delivery quantities ” explains a press release from the ministry.
Contacted by Le Figaro, the Pfizer laboratory explains “Be in the process of reviewing the planned allocations” vaccine in the various European countries, and has not yet quantified the impact that these delays could have on the vaccination campaign, especially in France. However, the laboratory announces that there will be “a small drop in deliveries in January», But an increase from the current 520,000 weekly “From the end of February”. At theAFP, a source within the executive indicated that France will have to “Adjust the rhythm of vaccinations” against the coronavirus due to this “slump” expected vaccine deliveries.
Specific regulatory authorizations
To justify these delivery delays, Pfizer explains that it wants “Deliver more doses of vaccine than initially planned, with a new target of 2 billion doses for 2021”. To achieve this, the laboratory must increase its industrial capacities. “This involves modifying our processes and our facilities, which will require specific regulatory authorizations” the lab continues.
After this announcement, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen reassured during a press conference in Lisbon. “I immediately called the CEO of Pfizer (…) He assured me that all doses guaranteed for the 1st quarter (to EU countries) will be delivered in the 1st quarter”She declared. The boss of Pfizer “is personally involved in reducing this period of delays and ensuring that these delays are made up as quickly as possible. It was essential to send him the message that we urgently need these promised doses, and this in the 1st trimester.», She added.
Ursula von der Leyen has also endeavored to allay the concerns of six Member States which in a joint letter denounced delays “unacceptable“From Pfizer, accused of mining”the credibility of the vaccination process ”. “This is not the first time that a company has announced delivery delays for a short period (…) others have had to delay the submission of their vaccine to the European Medicines Agency”, She observed.
18% decrease in Norway
These statements by the German Ministry of Health come shortly after that of the Norwegian authorities. The Pfizera laboratory in fact warned of a drop “starting next week»Deliveries of anti-Covid vaccines to Norway and Europe, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (FHI) announced. The latter also did not specify the extent of the reduction in deliveries for Europe, but the drop for Norway is expected to be close to 18% next week.
«The temporary reduction will affect all European countries“The FHI said in a statement. “It is not yet clear how long exactly it will take before Pfizer returns to maximum production capacity, which will be increased from 1.3 to 2 billion doses.Per year, he added. According to Geir Bukholm, one of its senior officials, the FHI was notified of this decline on Friday morning. The FHI now says it expects to receive next week only 36,075 doses against 43,875 previously expected, a decrease of 17.8% for the Scandinavian kingdom.
Tap into stocks
To compensate for this decrease, Norway will draw on the precautionary stock of vaccines it had built up when it received the first doses. “We (…) now have the possibility to compensate for the reduction in deliveries thanks to the emergency stock that we have in NorwayGeir Bukholm said in the statement. “This stock at our disposal will compensate for a reduction in deliveries planned for a few weeks in the future, if the need arises.“, he added.
Although it is not a member of the European Union, the Nordic country is closely associated with it in many areas, including in the context of the purchase of anti-Covid vaccines negotiated by Brussels. Like many European countries, Oslo began the vaccination campaign with the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine on December 27 and injected rival Moderna’s first vaccine on Friday. As of Thursday, 42,003 people had been vaccinated against Covid in the country, or 0.78% of the population.
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