Covid vaccine roundup: US vaccine supplies grow, but experts warn of potential hiccups in supply chain; Emergent touts growing Covid vaccine capacity
The Biden administration has been raising hopes in the US that there will be ample vaccine supplies to inoculate more than 250 million American adults by May. There have been new deals with Moderna and Pfizer to ramp up 400 million doses, to cover 200 million, with 100 million single-shot vaccines from J&J top finish the job.
But some experts are sounding a warning that there could be a lot more to this than simply signing contracts. Vaccine manufacturing is not an easy business.
“You can be going along and getting a certain yield and then all of the sudden your yield drops and you don’t know why,” vaccine production consultant Robert Van Exan tells USA Today. “Test delays or failures, raw material supply chain, lot failures and yield problems are just some of the examples of things that can result in supply disruptions.”
Emergent touts ability to manufacture more than 1B doses of Covid vaccine each year
After inking a $480 million deal to supply J&J’s Covid vaccine for the next 2 years, Emergent BioSolutions says that it has now developed enough capacity to make more than a billion doses of vaccine a year.
“We are operating at a level where our capacity is well in access of 1 billion doses annually for those products,” CEO Bob Kramer said in a “Mad Money” interview.
Emergent also has an arrangement to make AstraZeneca’s vaccine, which is being distributed around the world.
Once the initial rollout is finished it’s likely that we’ll see billions of more booster shots on offer every year, marking a major new add-on to the world’s vaccine business.
EU audit in India could be tied to fresh supplies — report
EU regulators are auditing the Serum Institute of India’s manufacturing site.
There’s no word in the report just why they’re doing the audit, but Reuters notes that it could be a preliminary step to allowing in supplies of AstraZeneca’s vaccine shot, developed with Oxford. The SII is making supplies for developing nations, though there have been reports that its first duty is to supply the subcontinent.
AstraZeneca has seen some significant backlash against the vaccine, as doubts were raised about its efficacy among older people as well as the new variants that are making the rounds. Germany, though, just cleared it for those over 65, signaling a more open attitude that could spark wider usage on the continent.
WTO wants vaccine manufacturers to triple global production in crisis
While vaccine supplies are flowing in growing quantities to the most affluent countries, poor nations are finding themselves at the back of the line. Now the head of the World Trade Organization is urging its member nations to negotiate new licensing deals while pushing vaccine manufacturers to triple production from the usual 3.5 billion vaccine doses a year to 10 billion.