The news that six instead of five vaccine doses can be obtained from one vial of Pfizer / BioNTech’s corona vaccine ensures that the Netherlands will continue to receive more Pfizer vaccines than expected (and thus more people). However, pharmaceutical company Pfizer expects to adjust the deliveries in the short term, says a spokesperson in conversation with NU.nl.
Pfizer has made agreements with the Netherlands about when certain amounts of vaccine doses should arrive, not the number of vials. Current deliveries from Pfizer are focused on five vaccine doses per vial.
However, it will “take a while” before Pfizer can adjust deliveries to six vaccines per vial, a spokesman for the pharmaceutical company said. “In the meantime, we will continue to respect the agreements made.” This means that Pfizer will continue to send too many vials to the Netherlands for the time being to deliver the agreed amount of vaccine doses.
According to the spokesperson, Pfizer knew much earlier that six vaccine doses could be obtained from one vial, but the European Medicines Agency (EMA) denied that option due to a lack of data. The EMA approved the sixth dose on January 9, after sufficient data had been collected.
“Since then it has been included in official guidelines to which we are bound,” said the spokesman. The pharmaceutical company can therefore only now take a close look at the logistics processes. “It is not clear how and when we will adjust the supplies, but the Netherlands will not receive fewer vaccines anyway.”
Talks between Ministry and Pfizer ongoing
A spokesperson for the Department of Health confirms that talks between Pfizer and the Department are ongoing. “We do not have any clarity yet, and are therefore cautious about what this means for the long term. We cannot yet adjust our earlier forecasts.”
The European Commission says in a response to “investigate the possible implications of the extra vaccines from vials”. The EC is looking at both contractual agreements and the roll-out of the vaccinations.
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