Friday 15 January 2021 4:06 pm

Pfizer to temporarily reduce vaccine deliveries to UK and EU

Pfizer will temporarily reduce deliveries of its Covid vaccine to the UK and across Europe from next week, according to the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH).

The move will mean countries will receive fewer vaccines than expected while the pharmaceutical giant upgrades its production capacity.

Read more: Minister insists vaccine works against Brazilian Covid variant as travel ban begins

Pfizer told Norway this morning it would receive 18 per cent fewer doses than expected next week, according to Geir Bukholm, director of infection control at NIPH.

“This temporary reduction will affect all European countries,” he said. “It is as yet not precisely clear how long time it will take before Pfizer is up to maximum production capacity again.”

It comes as Pfizer upgrades its production capacity to meet international demand for its coronavirus vaccine. It will soon be able to produce 2bn vaccine doses per year — up from 1.3bn currently.

Ursula von der Leyen, the EU Commission chief, said the Pfizer CEO had today said it is doing “everything possible” to reduce the time of the delays.

The US firm warned that estimated volumes of coronavirus vaccine doses delivered to each country “may need to be adjusted”.

Britain has ordered 30m doses of the Pfizer vaccine — enough to vaccinate 15m people — while the EU last week upped its order to 600m doses of the jab.

The UK is currently leading the continent’s vaccination race, after becoming the first country to approve the Pfizer jab.

Documents accidentally published by the Scottish government yesterday suggested Britain may be on track to administer more than 500,000 vaccines each day by next week.

Read more: Exclusive: Government scraps ‘game-changing’ antibody tests at NHS sites

Vaccines deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi earlier this week said he was “absolutely confident” the UK will meet government targets to vaccinate the 14m most-vulnerable by mid-February.

A total of 2.6m people in the UK have been given their first dose of the vaccine, according to government data.