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.
- Pfizer's vaccine has been shown to be more than 90% effective.
Go deeper... Fauci: U.K. "rushed" through Pfizer vaccine approval