Report: Pfizer cut original COVID-19 vaccine target after supply-chain hurdles

UK approves Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for emergency use

Officials at Pfizer expect to ship half of the coronavirus vaccines it originally earmarked for this year because of supply-chain problems, according to a report.

However, the American drugmaker expected to roll out more than a billion doses in 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported.

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“Scaling up the raw material supply chain took longer than expected,” a company spokesperson told the newspaper. “And it’s important to highlight that the outcome of the clinical trial was somewhat later than the initial projection.”

Pfizer and its German-based partner, BioNTech SE, wanted to roll out 100 million vaccines worldwide by the end of December, but are now projecting that 50 million will be dispense, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The announcement had an impact on Pfizer’s shares, which fell more than 2% in intraday trading on Thursday before closing at a 1% loss, CNBC reported. In extended trading, Pfizer stock, which has a market value of $223 billion, was down less than 1%, the network reported.

On Wednesday, the United Kingdom granted emergency-use authorization for the Pfizer vaccine.

The two-shot vaccine is also being reviewed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, where a similar EUA could come later this month. The FDA is also considering a vaccine developed by Moderna, Inc., of Cambridge, Massachusetts, which could begin shipping before Christmas, The Wall Street Journal reported.

On Thursday, Moderna officials said they expected to have 20 million COVID-19 vaccine doses available in the United States by the end of the month, and between 100 million and 125 million doses worldwide during the first quarter of 2021.

Pfizer officials said its 100-million dose goal had been in place until mid-November, when it became clear the supply-chain obstacles were too great to meet the end of the year goal, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“We were late,” a person directly involved in the development of the Pfizer vaccine told the newspaper. “Some early batches of the raw materials failed to meet the standards. We fixed it, but ran out of time to meet this year’s projected shipments.”

Pfizer said ramping up the raw material supply chain was delayed by the efforts it was making to produce vaccines for clinical trials, CNBC reported. The company said its full-scale production lines in the U.S. and Europe are now complete, and it is “confident” it will be able to supply the targeted doses.

Pfizer and BioNtech are now on track to roll out 1.3 billion vaccines in 2021, The Wall Street Journal reported. The 50 million dose shortfall this year will be covered as production increases, according to the newspaper.

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