Pfizer says it will fulfill COVID-19 vaccine contract with US 2 months early

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, PhD, told Bloomberg Jan. 26 that a change in COVID-19 dose count will allow the company to fulfill its contract to supply 200 million doses to the U.S. by the end of May instead of July. 

Pharmacists discovered in December that Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine vials that were supposed to contain five doses sometimes contained an extra dose, and Pfizer now plans to count the sixth dose toward its deal with the federal government to supply the U.S. with 200 million doses of its vaccine by the end of July, The New York Times reports.

But some pharmacists told the Times that getting the extra dose requires a specialty syringe, and not all sites have them.

"If standard syringes and needles are used, there may not be sufficient volume to extract a sixth dose from a single vial," an FDA fact sheet for the vaccine states.

Pfizer executives pushed the FDA for weeks to change the vaccine emergency use authorization to acknowledge that the vials contain six doses, according to the Times. Pfizer's contract with the government requires it to be paid by the dose. The FDA updated the emergency use authorization Jan. 6 to acknowledge that the vials contain six doses.

A spokesperson for Pfizer told the Times that "in a situation of limited vaccine supply amid a public health crisis, our intent with this label change is to provide clarity to health care providers, minimize vaccine wastage and enable the most efficient use of the vaccine." 

Dr. Bourla told Bloomberg that Pfizer has supplied governments with needles and syringes to extract the extra doses. Pfizer and the government have agreed to track which vaccination sites are receiving the specialty syringes needed to get the extra dose, and Pfizer won't charge the U.S. for the sixth dose at sites that don't have the necessary equipment, according to the Times.

Jen Psaki, the White House press secretary, said Jan. 21 that the government may use the Defense Production Act to boost the supply of specialty syringes, the Times reported.

Read the full article here.

More articles on pharmacy:
Merck abandons its 2 COVID-19 vaccine candidates
FDA approves first monthly injectable to treat HIV
Amazon, Seattle health system create vaccination pop-up site


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