Portage: On Friday, US President Joe Biden secured a commitment from Pfizer Inc to double its Covid-19 vaccine in the coming weeks, with his goal of filling the country’s vaccination stocks by the summer in sight.
The pharmaceutical company’s CEO, Albert Burla, took advantage of a visit by the President of the United States to the company’s largest manufacturing facility to announce that he expects more than double the roughly five million doses per week the company currently provides to the US government.
The Biden administration is trying to speed up an unprecedented campaign to vaccinate most American adults as local governments demand more doses and the virus kills thousands of Americans every day.
Biden said Friday that he is confident he will be able to exceed his goal of distributing 100 million Covid-19 rounds during his first 100 days in office. But he also said any semblance of normality might still be months away.
We are now on our way to have adequate supplies of the vaccine available to all Americans by the end of July. “This does not mean it will be in the arms of all Americans,” Biden said, in a warehouse filled with hundreds of extremely cold freezers each containing 360,000 doses of vaccine, but that sufficient vaccine will be available.
Biden said: “I cannot say when this crisis will end.” But I can tell you: “We are doing everything we can for this day to come sooner rather than later.”
Less than 15% of the US population has been vaccinated against the highly contagious disease that has killed nearly 500,000 people in the US.
Burla said it was possible to increase supply due to improvements in the plant’s manufacturing processes, improved laboratory testing methods and Biden’s use of powers under the Defense Production Act to speed up manufacturing.
Burla said that during his visit to the Michigan plant, Biden challenged the company to provide 300 million previous doses of the vaccine it had agreed to supply by the end of July, and the company was looking for ways to speed up production.
To that end, Pfizer said it will by the end of the year add manufacturing capacity in Michigan, capacity to produce raw materials in both Michigan and Connecticut, and adding production lines for vials in Kansas.
It also engaged two contracting manufacturers in the US to help produce the footage.
Biden also stressed standards for vaccine production during the tour, encouraging Americans to get vaccinated. He said, “I just took a tour of where it was made.” “It takes longer to do a safety check than to make this vaccine. That’s how tough they are.”
Pfizer said it will provide the US government with 100 million doses by the end of March and another 100 million by the end of May. Burla said the company had already provided 40 million doses to the US government as of February 17.
Pfizer is one of the largest employers in the Kalamazoo County area that Biden visited. Highly industrialized Michigan was a key ingredient in Biden’s 2020 election victory over former President Donald Trump.
The US pharmaceutical company has yet to fulfill all of its global vaccine supply commitments. European Union officials told Reuters that as of Wednesday, about 10 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine had not yet been delivered to the European Union that were to be provided in December.
Pfizer has developed a two-dose vaccine using German BioNTech SE.
Moderna Inc, which also produces the Covid-19 vaccine domestically, has agreed to supply the United States with 300 million doses of a similar vaccine of two types by the end of July.
Biden’s chief medical advisor, Dr Anthony Fauci, said Tuesday that demand was still far outpacing supply at the moment.
Jeff Williams, the mayor of Arlington, Texas, who has met Biden and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen in recent weeks, said his city of 400,000 was ready to vaccinate 40,000 people a day, but only had enough supplies to administer 3,000 doses.