The German company BioNtech announced this Monday that in the second quarter it will supply the European Union with an additional 75 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine that it makes with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer. We continue working to increase supplies as of February 15 to reach the number of doses set in the contracts,” says the company’s financial director, Sierk Poetting, in a statement explaining that production processes have been optimized. Besides, in the second quarter we will be able to supply 75 million more doses to the EU, he adds.
That supply is part of the EU’s second order for 200 million doses, expected later. Biotech’s announcement comes almost immediately before a vaccination summit called by the German government, with representatives from pharmaceutical companies and the EU. The EU had been criticized for ordering vaccines too late and in insufficient quantities from various companies. Besides, the producers of the three already licensed vaccines – Biotech / Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca – have had production problems that have delayed their supplies to the EU, which has also generated debate.For example, after a tug of war with the European Commission, the president of the Community Executive has announced that AstraZeneca will finally deliver up to 40 million units in the first quarter and will also increase production capacities in Europe, although the signed target of 80 million is far away.
Biotech will now be able to increase its production, according to Poetting, because optimization work has been completed at the Belgian Purus factory. “Now, with this, we can return to the original plan to supply vaccines to the EU,” said Potting. Furthermore, the new factory in Marburg (central Germany) has been licensed to start production in February. A third factor is that Biotech has increased its network of cooperations in Europe.Biotech even plans to almost double its production of vaccines in the face of world demand and produce this year 2,000 million doses this compared to the 1,300 million initially contemplated