Pfizer Temporarily Reduces EU Vaccine Deliveries, While US President Biden’ Vaccine Plan Dubbed ‘Aspirational’ But ‘Doable’
The Berlaymont Building in Brussels, which houses the European Commission

Deliveries of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine to all European Union (EU) states will be reduced for an undisclosed period starting from next week, Norway’s National Institute of Public Health has said.

The sudden change to delivery schedules, Pfizer announced on Friday, is due to a reorganization of the company’s production capacity. It did not say how long this would take.

The  pharmaceutical company also said that after the reorganization it will be able to increase production from 1.3 billion doses a year to 2 billion.

Total number of single vaccination doses administered, since 19 December 2020 as of 15 January 2021.

So far, the EU has secured a total of 300 million doses of the Pfizer candidate, to be distributed across its 27 member states by the end of 2021. On 8 January, the European Commission proposed purchasing an additional 200 million doses, with the option to acquire an additional 100 million beyond that. The vaccine was approved for use in the EU in late December.

It is not clear by how much deliveries to the EU will be reduced, or how this will be reflected in doses received by individual member states.

Norway’s National Institute of Public Health confirmed, however, that the 43,875 doses it expected to receive in the third week of its rollout has been lowered to 36,075: a decrease of 17%.

The public health body confirmed that it will cover the reduction with its emergency stock that it had “kept in readiness for such cases”.

Biden Advisor Predicts Rocky Start To Vaccine Plan

Incoming US President Joe Biden had promised to administer an ambitious 100 million vaccines in the first 100 days of his presidency.

But Michael Osterholm, of Biden’s COVID-19 task force, has clarified that the earlier days of that time frame will see less doses injected than the later days.

“The first days of that 100 days may be substantially slower than it will be towards the end,” he said, adding that “it’s not going to occur quickly.

“You’re going to see the ramp-up occurring only when the resources really begin to flow.”

Currently, the Trump administration has vaccinated just more than 10 million citizens in around 30 days. Biden’s pledge to administer 100 million in 100 days — which likely will not be broken down as 1 million per day, based on Osterholm’s comment — would represent a massive step up in the country’s immunization campaign.

The anticipated slow start to Biden’s vaccine plan is largely down to availability of resources, it seems. As Nicole Lurie, a pandemic advisor to Biden, said prior to the election, ramping up vaccinations after the Trump presidency would not be achieved with the “flip [of] a switch”.

The goal, Osterholm said, is “aspirational” but, importantly, “doable”.

Image Credits: almathias, Our World in Data.

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