At least two trays of Covid-19 vaccine doses delivered to California needed to be replaced after their storage temperatures dropped below minus 80 degrees Celsius (minus 112 degrees Fahrenheit), the Army General said during the call. American Gustave Perna. Pfizer vaccines, made with partner BioNTech SE, should be kept at approximately minus 70 ° C.
Officials are investigating whether storing the vaccines at excessively low temperatures poses a safety or efficacy risk, he said.
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Pfizer also reported some manufacturing problems, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar said.
“We will make sure that, by whatever mechanism, we will provide them with full support to ensure they can produce for the American people,” Azar said.
Pfizer did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but its chief executive Albert Bourla told CNBC earlier this week that the company was asking the US government to use the Defense Production Act to alleviate some “critical limitations.” of the offer “, in particular in some components. He did not provide further details.
Officials did not outline what the specific manufacturing challenges were.
Ugur Sahin, managing director of Pfizer partner BioNTech, told Reuters last week that Pfizer’s initial 2020 production target of 100 million doses was halved earlier this year in part due to problems with the supply of raw materials. He said it has since been fixed and production has started on a large scale.
Officials said Wednesday they plan to allocate 2 million doses of Pfizer vaccine next week and 5.9 million doses of Moderna Inc, assuming it receives regulatory clearance. Moderna’s vaccine is likely to be authorized as soon as Friday, they said.
The US government is in talks with Pfizer to obtain 100 million additional doses, US Warp Speed’s chief adviser Dr Moncef Slaoui said during the call. It previously contracted with Pfizer for the option to purchase up to 500 million additional doses at an unspecified price.
Officials said Wednesday that the U.S. has already contracted 300 million doses of the vaccine between the Pfizer / BioNTech shot and one from Moderna in the first half of next year and 900 million doses in total from drug makers developing Covid vaccines. 19.
Officials said logistics companies United Parcel Services Inc and FedEx Corp are developing contingency plans for vaccine deliveries this week in response to forecasts of severe snowstorms in parts of the United States.