The European Union will seek clarification from Pfizer on reports of new delays in delivering Covid-19 vaccines, chief spokesperson for European Commission Eric Mamer said during a press briefing on Friday.
Mamer stressed that the Commission is constantly in contact with the manufacturers and are aware of recent developments.
Last week Pfizer said that shipments from its vaccine facility in Puurs, Belgium, would be temporarily reduced as it scales up to produce 2 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses in 2021.
Eric Mamer explained that the deliveries are organised specifically between the Member States and the companies, while the Commission supports the relationship between the two.
“We will of course continue our contact with BioNTech/Pfizer to ensure that we have always the latest information and see what are the next steps that need to be taken based on this,” he said.
Some background: Italy announced Wednesday it will take legal actions against pharmaceutical company Pfizer over Covid-19 vaccine delays.
"Unfortunately this week we received 29% fewer vaccine jabs from Pfizer and we have been told that we will receive 20% fewer vaccine jabs next week," the country’s extraordinary coronavirus commissioner Domenico Arcuri said Thursday during a press conference. The vaccination rollout has been "significantly" slowed down due to this delay, Arcuri added.
"Until last Saturday we vaccinated an average of 80,000 people a day, with a peak of 92,618 in 24 hours. After Saturday, the people who were vaccinated are just over a third, 28,000 on average," he said.
Pfizer said last week that in order to increase capacity, changes were needed to the process and facility, and additional regulatory approvals would be required.
Pfizer's vaccine partner BioNTech later said that the original schedule for deliveries to the European Union would resume the week beginning Jan. 25.
BioNTech said it hoped to “increase delivery beginning the week of February 15," which would result in delivering “the fully committed quantity of vaccine doses in the first quarter and significantly more in the second quarter."