Frankfurt | The German laboratory BioNTech announced on Monday an acceleration of deliveries to the European Union of the vaccine against COVID-19 developed with the American Pfizer, promising up to 75 million additional doses in the second quarter.
The two partners plan to “increase deliveries from the week of February 15”. The goal: to provide “the quantity of doses we have committed to in the first quarter” as well as “up to 75 million additional doses to the European Union in the second quarter” under existing contracts, explained Sierk. Poetting, chief financial officer, in a statement sent to AFP.
The announcement comes on the day of a planned summit meeting between German leaders and several pharmaceutical groups to try to relaunch the vaccination campaign, which is trampling in Germany as in many European countries.
After a slowdown in deliveries due to modifications to the production line at the Belgian plant in Puurs, “we are back to our initial delivery plan”, added the manager.
The EU has ordered a total of 600 million doses of the product dubbed “Comirnaty”.
The announcement of the temporary slowdown in deliveries had caused the irritation of several European governments in mid-January even before the controversy surrounding the AstraZeneca vaccine and the drop in the number of doses announced.
Deliveries from the Anglo-Swedish laboratory, which will provide 40 million doses, should now begin “a priori the second week of February” according to a European source.
Even so, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen acknowledged February and March will remain “a difficult time” for vaccine supply and admitted that the EU currently has a lower immunization record to that of Great Britain in particular.
Pfizer and BioNTech announced on January 11 that they would be able to produce two billion doses of their vaccine thanks, in particular, to a new plant in Marburg, Germany, which is due to start this month.
This new objective also takes into account the possibility of administering six and not five doses from a vial as well as a denser network of production sites including third-party companies such as Sanofi, which will package vaccines in its factory. Frankfurt.
“Discussions are underway with other partners for possible new agreements,” noted Poetting.