First doses of Pfizer’s US-made COVID-19 shots sent to Mexico as pressure builds on the US to help other countries.
Pfizer Inc’s shipment of its COVID-19 vaccine to Mexico this week includes doses made at its plant in the United States, the first of what is expected to be ongoing exports of its vaccines from the United States, a a source familiar with the matter told Reuters. agency.
The vaccine shipment, produced at Pfizer’s Kalamazoo plant in Michigan, marks the first time the drugmaker has delivered overseas from U.S. facilities after a restriction on the U.S. Trump era on dose exports at the end of March, the source said Thursday.
The US government has come under increasing pressure in recent weeks to provide surplus vaccines to other countries in desperate need of it as it moves rapidly to vaccinate its own residents. Many countries where the virus is still endemic are struggling to obtain vaccines to help tame the pandemic.
Wealthy governments have tried to source COVID-19 injections from Pfizer and Moderna Inc due to their extremely high efficacy and after safety concerns and production issues, vaccines from AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson have temporarily discarded.
Pfizer has shipped more than 10 million doses to Mexico so far, becoming its largest supplier of COVID-19 vaccine.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech SE supplied other countries in doses from its main European production plant in Belgium.
Mexico’s health ministry said it was receiving two million doses of Pfizer this week. He has received over a million doses from Belgium since Wednesday and expects another million this week. Reuters could not confirm whether all remaining doses of Pfizer would come from Michigan.
Pfizer will use additional capacity at its U.S. facilities to deliver injections overseas while continuing to meet its commitment to supply the U.S., the source said, adding that the drug maker will also ship from Belgium.
Pfizer has said it will deliver up to 25 million doses each week in the United States by mid-year, which is more than what it needs to meet its commitment to deliver 300 million doses in the United States by the end of July.
The company plans to produce up to 2.5 billion doses of vaccine in 2021 and has already made deals to deliver more than one billion to governments around the world.
A deal Pfizer signed with the White House last year banned it from shipping US-made doses to other countries until after March 31, according to the source and a US official, who refused to be named because he was not authorized to speak. the media.
The U.S. vaccination campaign has been among the fastest and most successful in the world, with nearly 240 million vaccines given to more than 140 million people to date, according to federal data updated Thursday.
The White House announced Monday that it will export up to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine that have been manufactured at a U.S. facility to countries in need.
Officials said Monday that the United States no longer plans to need the AstraZeneca vaccine to meet its goal of having enough vaccines for all Americans by the northern hemisphere summer.
The U.S. government announced on Sunday that it will immediately ship raw materials for COVID-19 vaccines, medical supplies and protective gear to India, which has become the latest epicenter of the pandemic with its health system on the brink of crisis. ‘collapse. He has yet to promise finished vaccine shipments to India.