Six EU governments have written to the bloc’s executive to call for action as deliveries of Covid-19 vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech are being delayed, while supply issues have also been reported in Canada.
The health ministers of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia called on the EU Commission to ensure the “stability and transparency of timely deliveries” of the Pfizer jab in a letter on Friday.
“This situation is unacceptable. Not only does it impact the planned vaccination schedules, it also decreases the credibility of the vaccination process,” the letter reads, according to Reuters.
Pfizer will also temporarily reduce shipments of the vaccine to Canada while the company expands production at its manufacturing facility in the Puurs area of Belgium, Canadian Procurement Minister Anita Anand said on Friday.
Speaking during a news briefing, the minister added that Pfizer’s production strategy was “reducing deliveries to all countries” and that Canada’s vaccination targets should be back on track by March, without going into further detail.
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Earlier on Friday, Norwegian health authorities issued a similar statement, explaining that their expected shipment of 43,875 Pfizer vaccine doses next week would be cut to 36,075.
Ireland will also experience delays of three to four weeks due to Pfizer’s plans, the chief of the country’s Covid-19 vaccine taskforce, Brian MacCraith, said on Friday, adding that authorities had “planned for this sort of eventuality.”
A Pfizer spokesperson said that the company was “working hard to deliver more doses than originally forecasted this year,” while stating its goal is to increase capacity from 1.3 billion doses to two billion in 2021.
MEPs are to debate the “need for more clarity and transparency concerning vaccine contracts” at the EU’s first plenary session of the year on Tuesday.
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