Monday, September 25, 2023

Pfizer to temporarily limit vaccine deliveries to Europe

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European countries, including the UK, are expected to receive fewer vaccines than expected from Pfizer starting next week, according to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, further complicating the slow rollout of vaccines across the continent .

Geir Bukholm, director of infection control at NIPH, said the U.S. pharmaceutical company told Norway on Friday morning that it would receive 18% fewer doses than planned next week.

He added that the temporary cut would affect all European countries as Pfizer reorganizes production to increase capacity this year from 1.3 billion doses to 2 billion.

As it said it was working to deliver more doses than originally planned this year, Pfizer warned that the estimated volumes of coronavirus vaccine doses delivered to each country in any given quarter “may need to be adjusted.” .

He confirmed that an increase in manufacturing meant process changes were needed and these required additional regulatory approvals.

“While this has a temporary impact on shipments from late January to early February, it will result in a significant increase in the doses available to patients in late February and March,” he said.

As a result, he said there could be fluctuations in orders and shipping times at his Belgian factory in Puurs in the immediate future.

UK supply, which comes from the same factory, would also see fluctuations, Pfizer said.

Norway, which will now receive 36,075 doses next week instead of the 43,875 it had expected, said it was unsure how long it would take Pfizer to return to full capacity.

The Scandinavian country, like several other European countries, has kept a stockpile of doses in case there are any problems with deliveries and has said it will now tap into that emergency vaccine pool. Mr Bukholm said Norway had enough to cover “a few weeks in advance” if necessary.


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