Pfizer and Moderna will deliver an additional 135 million doses of coronavirus vaccines over the next five weeks, the companies will report Tuesday.
The two companies have significantly ramped up their production of vaccine doses and found solutions to previous manufacturing problems that created bottlenecks in production.
To date, Pfizer has delivered about 40 million doses to the US, and Moderna has delivered 45 million, executives for each company said in a prepared testimony before the House Committee on Energy & Commerce.
CDC’s vaccine tracker says it has received a total of 75 million doses from the two companies, with the remainder to be shipped between 135 and 145 million doses from the two companies by the end of March.
Together, Pfizer and Moderna have been contracted to deliver 600 million doses of their shots to the US by the end of July, and have pledged to have 220 million doses ready by the end of March.
Moderna says it will increase weekly shipments to the US to 40 million a week by the end of April. Pfizer said it would increase shipments from four to five million to 13 million a week in the coming weeks.
After falling short of early delivery targets due to supply chain and manufacturing issues, every company has now said it is ahead of schedule.
According to Bloomberg data, nearly 64.21 million of those 85 million doses had been administered to Americans on Tuesday.
The US gives about 1.4 million doses of vaccines per day, but most states are running out of supplies. Another 135 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna over the next five weeks could dramatically increase daily vaccination coverage
Pfizer said earlier this month it had doubled its production speed at its Michigan plant, which President Joe Biden visited Friday (photo, file)
The US rollout began to gain momentum earlier this month, but last week’s extreme weather was a blow to President Biden’s goal to dramatically speed up vaccinations (though the campaign is still on track to reach its 100 million goal). shots handy to get in 100 days).
The US now gives 1.37 million doses per day, but shipments barely keep up with the rate at which shots are delivered, with more than 85 percent of the divided doses already used in more than half of the states.
“Due to the urgent need to vaccinate more people, we have increased dose production,” said John Young, Pfizer’s chief business officer in his testimony.
Despite the increase, only 13.3 percent of the U.S. population has received one or more doses of vaccine, and only six percent of Americans have been fully vaccinated.
Pfizer failed to meet its earliest global distribution targets due to supply chain issues. As a result, the number of doses it ships worldwide halved by the end of 2020.
By the end of 2020, the U.S. government said it had distributed a total of 14 million doses of Pfizer and Moderna shots to states and three million shots had been administered.
Both figures fell far short of Operation Warp Speed’s goal of delivering 20 million first doses by the end of last year.
About 13% of the US has had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine, with the highest rates in states like West Virginia and Alaska
States use their stock of vaccine doses almost as quickly as the federal government can send doses. More than half of the states have used up more than 85% of their doses
Pfizer faced a second speed bump when updates to its Brussels factory caused further production delays, although it said it could still deliver about 92 percent of its promised supply.
But in early February, the company announced it had doubled production so it could produce a batch of vaccine doses every 60 days, instead every 110 days, according to a USA Today report.
“Since July, we’ve increased projected global production for 2021 from 1.3 billion doses to at least 2 billion doses,” Young said in his testimonial.
The company has opened new facilities, upgraded old ones, and the FDA has been allowed to label its vials for six doses instead of five.
“As a result of these improvements, we expect to increase the number of doses we are making available for shipping from about 4 to 5 million doses per week in early February to more than 13 million doses per week by mid-March,” Young said.
“We are on track to make 120 million doses available for shipping by the end of March and an additional 80 million doses by the end of May. And we expect all 300 million contracted doses to be available for shipment by the end of July, enabling vaccination of up to 150 million Americans. ‘
Moderna had fewer production issues at first, but some of its batches spoiled during distribution through partner McKesson, as well as on-site in Maine and California.
CEO Stephane Bancel said in January that while overall production was successfully increasing, the number of doses it could offer on any given day or week fluctuated with raw material availability.
And last week, the company said it had experienced some ‘short term delays’ at the contract factory Catalent, which delayed the delivery of some doses but would be resolved quickly and ‘not expected to affect monthly delivery targets’.
The nature of the issue was not specified.
Moderna also asked the FDA for permission to increase the number of doses it fills its bottles by up to 40 percent, because while the supply of the vaccine serum itself grew, the number of bottles the machines can fill at once is limited.
Dr. Moderna’s president Stephen Hoge tells Congress that the company has doubled its production of COVID-19 vaccines and will double again by the end of April.
“To date, we have delivered more than 45 million doses of our vaccine, with tens of millions more at various stages of the manufacturing process,” Hoge said in his testimony.
“We are on track to deliver on our pledge to deliver 100 million doses by the end of March. We have doubled our monthly deliveries since the end of 2020 and we aim to double them again to more than 40 million doses per month by April.
“Based on these advances in scaling up production, we recently agreed to extend our delivery timeline: we now aim to deliver a second hundred million doses by the end of May and a third one hundred million doses by the end of July.
Meanwhile, Johnson and Johnson are ramping up its vaccine production as it looks ahead in hopes of emergency licensing.
An advisory committee from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will meet on Thursday to discuss whether Johnson & Johnson’s shot should be turned green.
“We will have 20 million doses of the vaccine available by the end of March, and we are ready to ship four million doses immediately upon emergency approval,” said Janssen’s vice president of medical affairs, Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical division.