Pfizer reassures Italy: “From next week regular vaccines”

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Pfizer-BionTech vaccine supplies arriving in the early morning at the international airport of Pisa, on 12 January 2021. Through DHL, international courier company, the Pfizer-BionTech vaccine is shipped directly from Lipsia, Germany to the many destinations in Italy. (Photo by Enrico Mattia Del Punta/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The new load of Pfizer vaccines will arrive tomorrow, Tuesday 19 January, the one reduced by 29% compared to the 470,000 doses planned and at the center of a tug-of-war between the emergency commissioner Domenico Arcuri and the pharmaceutical multinational. An arm wrestling that shows no signs of loosening. Despite the explanations provided by Pfizer BionTech to justify the delay, in fact, Arcuri, worried about the repercussions on the timing of the vaccination campaign, continues to consider the possibility of opening a dispute, already feared in the vitriolic letter addressed to the pharmaceutical company in response to the announcement of delays. “Among other things, communicated directly to the 293 administration points on the territory bypassing us, therefore the Government, and the Regions”, they point out, not hiding the annoyance from the commissioner structure.


The reasons given by Pfizer in a note sent by email to Arcuri in the night between Saturday and Sunday are considered “vague” and “not sufficient to clarify doubts”. Already three times the loads have arrived late, it is pointed out, and little convinces the need for the renovation to be carried out at the Puurs plant, in Belgium, “which will allow the increase of production capacity in Europe and provide a number significantly higher doses in the second quarter ”, reads a note published on the Pfizer BionTech website and to which they refer from the press office of the multinational.


The pharmaceutical company ensures that “deliveries to the European Union will return to regular schedule starting from the week of January 25, with an increase starting from the week of February 15” in order to “deliver the quantities of vaccine doses planned for the first quarter and a much higher quantity in the second quarter “. Again, again to increase production, Pfizer and BioNTech let it be known that they are “also involving other suppliers and contract manufacturers”. Words that only partially dispel the concern and irritation of the Commissioner and the Government for this week’s partial delivery. “From the week of February 15, the missing doses will arrive, but in the email arrived between Saturday and Sunday, no delivery dates are indicated”, point out from the headquarters of Arcuri. Calendar in hand, there may be hitches for the administration of the second dose of the vaccine, in some regions already underway, therefore overall on phase two of the vaccination campaign. For the current week, however, no problems are expected. Most of the Regions, to which the Commissioner had asked in recent days to keep 30 percent of doses aside as a spare, should be able to guarantee the recalls. And from the structure they recall, in cases where the possibility arises, “the possibility of compensating the doses between one Region and another”, that is to say “the effort of national solidarity” requested by Arcuri, in agreement with the Minister della Salute, in the last meeting with the Governors.


Meanwhile, the 29% cut – non-horizontal cut for which the percentages cut are different between the various regions – decided by Pfizer has also become a political case. League MEP Rosanna Conte presented an urgent question to the European Commission to ask “Brussels to enforce Pfizer’s commitments”. The reduction “which rises to 50% in the North-East regions, namely Veneto, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Emilia Romagna and Trentino Alto Adige, occurs simultaneously with the announcement of the new US President Biden to strengthen the vaccination campaign in the United States – fa note the MEP – If the cut in doses for the EU were to be confirmed, it would be an arbitrary distribution by the pharmaceutical company which risks compromising and heavily penalizing the vaccination plan currently underway in individual countries ”. Hence the request of Conte to “enforce commitments and do it quickly so that there are no problems with respect to the amount needed for the second booster dose”.


Source: Huffington Post Italy Athena2 by www.huffingtonpost.it.

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