EU anger over delayed Pfizer vaccine deliveries

A number of EU international locations are receiving considerably fewer doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine than anticipated, after the US agency slowed shipments. Six nations known as the state of affairs “unacceptable” and warned it “decreases the credibility of the vaccination course of“. Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia urged the EU to use stress on Pfizer-BioNTech.

Pfizer mentioned the decreased deliveries have been a short lived situation. In a press release on Friday, the drugmaker mentioned shipments have been being affected by adjustments to its manufacturing processes designed to spice up manufacturing. “Though this can quickly affect shipments in late January to early February, it is going to present a big improve in doses obtainable for sufferers in late February and March,” Pfizer mentioned.

The corporate mentioned its manufacturing upgrades would even have a “short-term affect” on the supply of vaccines to the UK. Regardless of this, the UK authorities mentioned it nonetheless deliberate to hit its goal of vaccinating all precedence teams by mid-February – about 15 million folks.

The vaccine from Pfizer is just not the one candidate obtainable within the UK, with the College of Oxford and AstraZeneca jab additionally presently being rolled out. The EU is just not wholly reliant on the Pfizer jab both, having authorised a vaccine manufactured by US firm Moderna to be used. Nonetheless, the event is predicted to gradual the tempo of vaccination programmes.

The German well being ministry known as Pfizer’s announcement shocking and regrettable, noting that it had dedicated to binding supply dates till mid-February. EU Fee President Ursula von der Leyen mentioned she had been assured by Pfizer’s chief government that each one orders assured for supply within the first quarter of the yr would arrive.

Final week, Ms von der Leyen mentioned Pfizer had agreed to provide the EU with 600 million doses this yr, double its preliminary order. The pledge could do little to assuage European governments battling to subdue a fast-spreading Covid-19 variant first detected within the UK.

A couple of third of the 27 EU governments reported having “inadequate” vaccine doses at a gathering this week, Reuters reported, citing a participant. Lithuania mentioned it could now get solely half as many Pfizer vaccine doses as promised till mid-February.

Belgium mentioned it anticipated to obtain about half the deliberate doses in January. Canada can also be affected, as a result of its vaccine provides come from a Pfizer manufacturing unit in Belgium. Norway, which isn’t an EU member, mentioned on Friday that Pfizer was quickly lowering the variety of vaccine doses delivered to the nation as of subsequent week.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Well being mentioned in a press release that it may complement the loss utilizing “emergency inventory“. “The inventory we now have will be capable of compensate for a discount within the deliberate deliveries for just a few weeks forward,” it mentioned.

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