Pfizer will reduce its vaccine shipments to Europe by up to 50%, according to new information reported by Reuters on Thursday evening.
The troubling situation is due to unexpected cuts in supplies of the vaccine from the US pharmaceuticals industry, leading to the Pharma giant being forced to halve the volume of the vaccine it had planned to send to some European countries.
The nation of Romania will only receive half of the number of vaccine doses it had planned on and the number of doses will not return to normal levels until the end of March, according to Romanian Health Minister Andrei Batsu.
Poland and Czechoslovakia also face the same hardships, as the amount of doses they received this past Monday was almost exactly half what they had ordered and expected to receive. They only took delivery of 176,000 doses on Monday, which is half of what they had expected.
The Czech Republic is also undergoing the same difficulty, causing it to scale back on its inoculation program for weeks into the future.
Iam Blatney, the Czech Health Minister, stated in the Reuters report that “We should expect a reduction in the number of open vaccination appointments over the next three weeks,” after Pfizer cut back approximately 15% this week on the number of doses it sent and projected that that number would climb to 30% for the next two weeks.
However, some countries are able to deal with this setback better than others. Norway has some doses already in reserve and will be able to keep on the same inoculation schedule as it had been planning on, according to the public health authorities in that country.
Pfizer says will replace doses to Bulgaria and Poland
The American pharma giant has assured the countries of Bulgaria and Poland that it will replace the doses that were missed, according to senior officials.
In Denmark, however, the setback will result in an immediate drop in the number of inoculations, with a projected deficit of 10% in what it had planned to provide in the first quarter of this year.
The nation of Italy has even threatened to take Pfizer to court as a result of the shortfall, despite all the myriad current difficulties that are involved in the manufacture of the vaccines in the US and Europe.
Health Ministry officials around Europe state that they are attempting to get around the drop in the number of doses received but their desperate efforts to help stop the pandemic will undoubtedly be negatively affected.
Gergely Goulias, a member of Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban’s staff, sent a warning to Brussels that it needs to keep on top of the situation, saying “We would be happy if the (European) Commission would take action as soon as possible to ensure that Pfizer and other manufacturers change their deliveries.”
That country actually has several vaccines in its toolkit, since it has already approved the Russian Sputnik V and the Oxford/Astra Zeneca vaccine.
With information from AMNA