Raw Material Delays Cut Pfizer Vaccine Production

December 4, 2020
Pharmaceutical Technology Editors

A longer-than-expected scale up of raw materials forces Pfizer to cut 2020 vaccine production in half.

Delays in the scale up of the raw material supply chain has caused Pfizer to cut its original projection of 100 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccines in 2020 to 50 million doses, according to a Reuters report.

A Pfizer spokesperson also cited later-than-expected clinical trial results as another reason for fewer doses being produced by the end of the year. The spokesperson noted, however, that changes to the production lines are complete and finished doses are being produced at a rapid pace, the Reuters report said.

When releasing early clinical trial data, Pfizer and BioNTech had anticipated a total of 100 million vaccine doses to be manufactured by the end of 2020, a projection that was maintained until mid-November 2020. However, in a recent question and answer thread, presented on Pfizer’s Twitter feed on Nov. 25, 2020, Angela Hwang, group president, Biopharmaceuticals, Pfizer, revealed that the anticipated number of doses to be manufactured before the end of the year was reduced by half.

The companies still anticipate a total of 1.3 billion doses of the vaccine to be manufactured in 2021. “We have ramped up manufacturing capabilities across the globe to meet the high demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hwang said in the Pfizer Twitter thread. “If the vaccine is authorized or approved, we expect to produce globally up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.”

Sources: Reuters, Pfizer, Twitter