US, Pfizer cuts global vaccine donations due to ‘decreased demand’

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The US and Pfizer will cut their numbers of vaccine donations worldwide in response to “reduced demand,” although the company says it is still committed to delivering the roughly 1 billion doses the US has pledged to provide.

Last year, the Biden administration pledged to donate at least 1.1 billion doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to low- and middle-income countries.

More than 400 million doses have been donated to 79 countries to date, according to a statement from Pfizer.

“And by the end of 2022, we expect to deliver 600 million doses of vaccine for this program,” the company said.

“While we have sufficient supply to meet the 1 billion dose commitment for this program, we are seeing reduced demand in some low- and lower-middle-income countries due to delivery barriers and hesitation about vaccines,” Pfizer said. “As a result, Pfizer and the US government have agreed to review the terms of this contract to allow more time to address vaccination barriers.”

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The Hill has contacted the White House and the United States Agency for International Development for comment.

During the pandemic, global stakeholders have criticized what they have characterized as rich countries hoarding pandemic supplies such as vaccines. One initiative set up to combat this trend is COVAX, which is designed to ensure fair access to coronavirus vaccines.

According to a recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO), which co-leads COVAX, the global vaccine initiative has so far donated more than 1.7 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to 146 countries.

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However, the same report acknowledged that there were inherent issues in launching the program, including the initial time it took to fund and establish COVAX, where demand far outstripped available supply.

“This meant that, with a limited number of approved products in the early stages of global rollout, COVAX was disproportionately impacted by manufacturers prioritizing early bilateral customers for early delivery – as well as export restrictions further impacting the delivery of the majority of volumes. . is expected to be available for COVAX in the first half of 2021,” the WHO report said.

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Reuters reported earlier this year that COVAX wanted to delay or reduce vaccine delivery to avoid losing doses. COVAX was reportedly seeking between 400 million and 600 million doses less than six pharmaceutical companies — including Pfizer and Moderna — had been contracted to do.

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