Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine raised hopes, but supply, efficacy concerns are hurting

Edited By: Gravitas desk WION
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Jan 22, 2021, 11.20 PM(IST)

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

This delay could have a major impact on the global vaccination drive and this report will attempt to decode this

Most medical experts agree that vaccines are not silver bullets and the events in recent days further corroborate this theory.

In Israel, more than 12,000 people tested positive despite receiving the shot. 

As many as 69 people had taken the second dose as well. 

Also read | WHO says Pfizer's vaccine safe to use as concerns rise post Norway deaths

In Norway, 23 people died after getting vaccinated. 

In both cases, the jab in question was Pfizer-BioNTech. 

And now in addition to all these questions about efficacy, the company is facing a new challenge: shortages.

Pfizer is not being able to deliver the bulk orders placed by various governments across the world.

This delay could have a major impact on the global vaccination drive and this report will attempt to decode this. 

The global vaccination campaign has hit a predictable snag with shipments arriving late and order volumes declining by half.

Pfizer's vaccine delivery has fallen 15 per cent this week and is expected to drop by 30 per cent in February.

The European Union bet big on Pfizer, ordering nearly 300 million doses and the shortage threatens to derail their immunisation drive.

This is prompting some member states like Hungary using fast-tracking alternatives, including vaccines by Russia's Sputnik V and AstraZeneca-Oxford. 

While Romania and Poland are only getting half the doses they ordered, Italy has been told to expect a 20 per cent cut in the supply. 

Europe's vaccination drive which was off to a rapid start has now slowed to a crawl.

What's stalling the production chain?

Pfizer claims the stall is a part of a new plan to increase output.

It is renovating a factory in Brussels to produce more doses.

Meanwhile, output was expected to fall, but the disruption is lasting longer than expected.

No time to wait

Countries simply can't afford to wait especially with the emergence of potent virus mutations. 

Also, Pfizer's vaccine is delivered in two doses and the second one is key to developing complete immunity.

The delay means there is a risk of people not getting their second dose on time.

Elsewhere, Canada will not get even a single dose of Pfizer's vaccine from next week.

It's another blow to the country's already dismal roll-out.

However, Pfizer estimates that the deficit will be covered by next week.

The pace of the vaccination drive is crucial to taming the pandemic and momentum is key in the race to develop herd immunity.

Delays, even temporary ones, can set the vaccination programme back by weeks.
 

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