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Pfizer CEO says company on track to manufacture 1.3 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses globally next year

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla speaks with CNN's Sanjay Gupta as the company prepares to roll out doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines in the US.

Posted: Dec 14, 2020 9:09 AM
Updated: Dec 14, 2020 9:15 AM


With about 50 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine coming this year and about 1.3 billion slated to be manufactured next year, Pfizer is working to meet US demands for more doses, company CEO Albert Bourla said Monday.

His interview comes after a weekend in which the vaccine cleared its final hurdle for US emergency use -- being approved for people 16 and older -- and as hundreds of thousands of vials are loaded on trucks for delivery to all 50 states.

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Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, have expressed hope that the immunizations begin Monday, as soon as the vials land in health care workers' hands. Several state officials have indicated vaccinations will begin Monday.

Bourla's remarks also come as the US is expected to soon see its coronavirus death toll hit 300,000.

No deal for US second quarter yet

The 50 million doses scheduled for distribution this year have already been manufactured, the CEO said, and half will go to the United States, while the other 25 million will go to the rest of the world.

Next year, Bourla expects US and European manufacturers to create another 1.3 billion doses. Pfizer and its partner, BioNTech, are maxing out capacity on both sides of the Atlantic, he said.

Of those, about 100 milliion will go to the States in the first quarter of 2021, per an agreement between the government and the vaccine makers, and 1.2 billion will be sent to other countries, he said.

The US government would like another 100 million doses in the second quarter, but as of right now, there is no deal in place and Bourla sees the third quarter of 2021 being a more realistic target.

'We are working very collaboratively with them to make sure that we can find ways to produce more or allocate the doses in the second quarter as well, but we haven't signed this agreement yet,' he told CNN.

Freight trucks carrying almost 1 million doses of the vaccine left or were scheduled to leave Pfizer's Portage, Michigan, plant Sunday, with close to 2 million more doses expected to leave Monday for a Tuesday arrival. A CNN crew saw action on the docks of the Portage plant Monday, and trucks were expected to begin rolling out in the morning.

Pfizer/BioNTech's vaccine won't likely be the only option. An FDA committee is reviewing a vaccine from Moderna, which is similar to Pfizer/BioNTech's, and will discuss its emergency use authorization this week. US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, in a Monday interview with NBC, also raised the prospect of Johnson & Johnson's and AstraZeneca's vaccines getting approval next month.

Scale no concern, but there may be 'bumps'

Asked if scale was a concern -- if there might be issues with raw ingredients, manufacturing limitations or quality control -- Bourla said there are rules demanding the highest standards of quality, and while he was concerned earlier in the process, there are 'fewer worries now because already we know how to do it.'

'Although it looks like a giant step, for us it's what we do every day, so right now I feel quite comfortable that we will be able to do it smoothly,' he said. 'I'm sure that there will be bumps across the way, but also I'm certain that this is normal life for us and we will be dealing with them and we will deliver these quantities.'

The vaccine will require two injections, the second dose coming 21 days after the first. While FDA briefing documents show a 52.4% efficacy after a lone dose, Bourla said American health officials are aware of the expected impact after one dose yet maintain that people should receive the second dose. Efficacy after two doses soars to 95%.

'This was something that the both FDA and CDC considered a lot and they arrived, I think, at recommending you should complete the second dose,' he said.

It's expected that of the first 6 million doses scheduled for American distribution, about half will remain in freezers to administer the second doses to those who receive the vaccine first.

Bourla has not received the vaccine yet, he said. An ethical committee is determining who gets the first doses, he said, and he does not want to cut in line. However, he expects to take it soon.

'I think this committee recommends that I will get vaccinated because polls that we have seen said that people will believe much more in this vaccine if the CEO is getting vaccinated so likely I will get it,' he told CNN.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 612701

Reported Deaths: 7761
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1270801803
Ramsey53350911
Dakota47466477
Anoka43482465
Washington27810296
Stearns22764227
St. Louis18353320
Scott17763139
Wright16615153
Olmsted13587104
Sherburne1218596
Carver1080349
Clay830792
Rice8300112
Blue Earth772844
Crow Wing691799
Kandiyohi673185
Chisago629955
Otter Tail592687
Benton588298
Goodhue487674
Douglas480881
Mower478834
Winona466452
Itasca463968
Isanti447567
McLeod436661
Morrison429562
Beltrami411863
Nobles411750
Steele401819
Polk391372
Becker390057
Lyon366454
Carlton357158
Freeborn353634
Pine338123
Nicollet335145
Mille Lacs316856
Brown309340
Le Sueur301228
Todd289633
Cass289133
Meeker267644
Waseca241823
Martin237633
Roseau212921
Wabasha20883
Hubbard198941
Dodge19173
Renville184246
Redwood178941
Houston176516
Cottonwood168224
Wadena165323
Fillmore160510
Faribault157820
Chippewa154438
Pennington154120
Kanabec148128
Sibley147710
Aitkin140237
Watonwan13629
Rock129919
Jackson123212
Pipestone117326
Yellow Medicine115620
Pope11416
Murray107710
Swift107718
Koochiching96919
Stevens92711
Clearwater89517
Marshall89017
Lake85121
Wilkin84613
Lac qui Parle76222
Big Stone6134
Grant5958
Lincoln5873
Mahnomen5669
Norman5519
Kittson49222
Unassigned49093
Red Lake4037
Traverse3835
Lake of the Woods3504
Cook1740

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 376815

Reported Deaths: 6122
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk59215646
Linn21567342
Scott20530250
Black Hawk16850320
Woodbury15378230
Johnson1479586
Dubuque13627215
Dallas1150699
Pottawattamie11393177
Story1092548
Warren594392
Clinton565894
Cerro Gordo564898
Webster546397
Sioux520574
Muscatine4956106
Marshall493679
Des Moines481776
Jasper454273
Wapello4402124
Buena Vista432340
Plymouth405782
Lee396958
Marion372378
Henry301737
Jones301357
Bremer294663
Carroll287252
Boone273735
Crawford273541
Benton264255
Washington261051
Dickinson251145
Mahaska235151
Jackson225943
Kossuth222166
Clay217927
Tama213872
Delaware213343
Winneshiek201337
Buchanan197834
Page195722
Cedar194323
Hardin192544
Wright191240
Hamilton189251
Fayette188943
Harrison182873
Clayton173258
Butler169135
Madison168019
Floyd165242
Mills164724
Cherokee162238
Lyon161241
Poweshiek159836
Allamakee156452
Hancock154034
Iowa149124
Winnebago147031
Calhoun144813
Cass142155
Grundy139733
Emmet137341
Jefferson135535
Sac133320
Shelby132238
Louisa130749
Union129535
Franklin129223
Appanoose128749
Mitchell127343
Chickasaw126017
Humboldt126026
Guthrie125332
Palo Alto115224
Montgomery106938
Howard105522
Clarke102624
Monroe101533
Keokuk100432
Ida93735
Adair90132
Davis88525
Pocahontas87022
Monona86731
Greene80011
Osceola79517
Lucas78323
Worth7648
Taylor67112
Decatur6649
Fremont64910
Van Buren57318
Ringgold57124
Wayne56623
Audubon53613
Adams3504
Unassigned80
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