Pfizer, the anti-Covid-19 vaccine producer, has halved the volume of the vaccine doses delivered to the EU states this week, including to Romania, according to Reuters.
Romania has received only 50% of the planned volume of jabs this week, with the rest to be gradually allotted until the end of March. The normal pace of the deliveries will be resumed as of next week, said secretary of state within the Health Ministry, Andrei Baciu.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have refused for now to make statements on this topic after last week the two pharma companies had announced a mitigation of deliveries during the period when they intend to boost their production capacity in Europe.
Several countries, including Poland, Czechia, Bulgaria, have already slowed down the pace of vaccination, while Norway, for instance, said it can manage the situation as it has an emergency stock. Poland has even threatened to take Pfizer to court for the partial vaccine deliveries.
The Serum Institute in Denmark said that a drop by 50% of vaccines this week will mean 10 percent less vaccines administered in the first quarter.
Government from all countries argue that these cutbacks are undermining their efforts to vaccinate citizens and to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Gheorghita: Doses on a landline, first part of February will be complicated
The coordinator of the vaccination campaign in Romania, military doctor Valeriu Gheorghita told B1 TV that “we have doses almost on a landline”, and the first part of February “will be complicated”.
“Since January 18 the number of people freshly vaccinated has been over 30,000 on a daily basis. We had today over 35,000. The rappel for the citizens in the first vaccination stage has also begun. That leads us to over 39,000 doses per day. We have 130,000 doses left to be distributed in the upcoming days.
Monday, January 25 the delivery of the next tranche is estimated, 180,000 (…) There are almost 500,000 people scheduled for vaccination February 8, plus those who have to take the rappel. We have doses almost on a landline: we use all we have in stock”, Gheorghita said.
The coordinator of the national vaccination campaign added that it is expected the AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine to be authorized at the end of January and this will increase the doses and the number of vaccinated people.
According to him, the European Commission has concluded a contract with AstraZeneca for 300 million doses, which can be supplemented by more 100 million doses. Romania’s share is 4.3%.
“As of April, the number of doses will be much higher. Romania has practically supplemented the number of shots purchased from BioNTech/Pfizer, with no delivery period extended, so this high number of doses will be delivered during the same period of time. The contract with Moderna will be also under way and we have here 3.5 million doses contracted. AstraZeneca will be probably authorised by that moment and Romania will have around 12 million vaccine doses contracted. There are over 20 million Pfizer doses contracted, with 3.5 million more from Moderna. We target to vaccinated over 10 million people by September”, Gheorghita pointed out.