Public Health

The availability of US Covid vaccines is predicted to extend considerably in March, the drug producers instructed Congress

Lillie McCray (R) receives Pfizer BioNTech’s Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) vaccine from Walgreens Doctor Ghassan Ayyad (L) at the Victor Walchirk Apartments in Evanston, Illinois on February 22, 2021.

Kamil Krzaczynski | Reuters

The supply of Covid-19 vaccines in the US is expected to increase significantly next month as manufacturers double the production pace, company executives said in prepared remarks to be delivered to Congress on Tuesday.

Pfizer expects to ship more than 13 million doses of its two-shot vaccine per week to the US by mid-March, more than double the weekly number of doses the company shipped earlier this month, said John Young, chief Pfizer business officer, writing testimonial. The testimony was released prior to a hearing before the House Committee on Energy and Trade.

Young also said Pfizer is on track to dispense 120 million doses by the end of March, and another 80 million doses are expected to expire by the end of May.

The President of Moderna, Dr. Stephen Hoge said his company is similarly working to double its shipments to the US by April, according to the testimony prepared by Hoge. Moderna hopes to ship 40 million cans a month, which is roughly double the pace, he said.

“We have doubled our monthly shipments to the US government since late 2020 and are working to double them again to more than 40 million cans per month by April,” said Hoge. “As we work to achieve these goals, we are continuously learning and working closely with our partners and the federal government to find ways to remove bottlenecks and speed up our production.”

He added in the document that if the Food and Drug Administration authorizes the company to put more vaccine doses in each vial, it would “improve performance”.

U.S. supplies are also expected to be supported by new manufacturers entering the fray. The FDA is expected to review Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine on Thursday. J&J Vice President for Medical Affairs, Dr. Richard Nettles, said in his prepared testimony that the company plans to ship more than 20 million cans in the US by the end of March.

Nettles added that the company is confident of delivering 100 million cans in the first half of the year.

Taken together, the remarks suggest the US is on track to have received 240 million doses of vaccine by the end of March, enough to vaccinate about 130 million people.

That could be a huge boon to the vaccine launch. State and local officials said the biggest restriction was the delivery of cans by the federal government. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 75.2 million doses have been given to states, and over 64.1 million doses have been given.

The House hearing is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. ET.

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