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WSJ: Pfizer to ship half as many COVID vaccines this year, citing supply chain issues

Pfizer and BioNTech have halved their original estimate for how many coronavirus vaccines will be shipped globally by the end of this year, citing supply-chain issues, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Why it matters: The U.K. government has ordered 40 million doses of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine — enough to inoculate some 20 million people. The companies now expect to ship 50 million vaccines by the end of 2020, instead of 100 million, per WSJ.


  • The company says it still expects to deliver over 1 billion doses in 2021.

What they're saying: “Scaling up the raw material supply chain took longer than expected,” a Pfizer spokesperson told the Journal. “And it’s important to highlight that the outcome of the clinical trial was somewhat later than the initial projection.”

  • Pfizer did not specifyto the Journal what shortfalls over ingredients and raw materials — which were sourced from Europe and the U.S. — took place as production ramped up.
  • The company was establishing its supply chain while the vaccine was still in development, the WSJ notes — breaking with the precedent of a typical vaccination rollout.
  • Pfizer did not return a request for comment.

The big picture: The global race to develop a COVID vaccine, which has seen hundreds of candidates, has been one of the fastest in history. It usually takes more than 10 years for a vaccine to reach regulatory approval after its discovery.

Go deeper... Fauci: U.K. "rushed" through Pfizer vaccine approval

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