How vaccine production has increased and how this will affect Spain
Big pharmaceutical companies they reneged on their commitment with the European Union of produce and ensure the distribution of vaccines against COVID-19. And only three countries (the United States, Israel and the United Kingdom) have a large part of their population vaccinated.
However, despite such data and the fact that the arrival of vaccines could be compromised, especially if AstraZeneca maintains the age restriction and Janssen maybe follow in his footsteps, vaccine production will star in such significant growth that we can be optimistic about achieve group immunity by late summer.
Pfizer cuts your time in half
So far, Pfizer and BioNTech have supplied more than 200 million doses Y, the contracts that the companies have signed They force them to deliver 1.4 billion doses in 2021.
However, the latest Pfizer forecasts are to be able to produce up to 2.5 billion doses of your vaccine through 2021, which is very good news for countries like Spain, where the vaccination strategy has not finally been altered and Health has decided not to space out the second dose of Pfizer and Moderna.
For that reason, a third contract for 1.8 billion doses for 2022-2023 is now being negotiated with Pfizer. In addition, Pfizer advances the delivery of 50 million planned for the fourth quarter, but that will now arrive during the second quarter and that they will be distributed equally among the member states based on their population.
To achieve this goal, the company is working on improving its production processes. So much so that he has already achieved cut your lead times by almost half, going from 110 days to 60. Among other factors, the German biotechnology company points out that the increase in its forecast is due to the optimization of production processes, the regulatory approval for vials of six doses instead of five as originally planned and the expansion of the manufacturing and supplier network.
This new data comes after the European Medicines Agency (EMA) give the green light to the company’s new plant in Marburg (Germany), where both the active substance and the finished doses will be produced. In addition to the new manufacturing plants, the EMA has also issued a positive opinion to allow the transport and storage of Pfizer vaccine vials at temperatures between -25 and -15 ° C (the temperature of standard pharmaceutical freezers).
As if that were not enough, the company continues to work to find potential partners with the aim of further increasing production capacity. Since reforming its plant facilities in Puurs (Belgium) to increase production, Pfizer has shown great consistency in the delivery of doses, so we can be optimistic with its forecasts.
With everything, do not forget that manufacturing more vaccines using more manufacturing centers is not as simple as it seems. As science journalist Anthony King explains in an analysis published in ‘Chemistry World’, certainly there are few experienced producers who can contribute significantly to the large-scale manufacture of messenger RNA vaccines, as the production of these vaccines depends on other centers that provide ‘raw materials’ such as lipids, enzymes and genetic material, thus as well as advanced technological platforms capable of producing messenger RNA vaccines.
Other vaccines that are and that will come
While the European Union will not renew contracts with AstraZeneca and Janssen, we must take into account the arrival of new doses of AstraZeneca, which will add up to more than a million, so these days the second dose begins to be inoculated in people who received the first when this vaccine began to be administered in Spain in mid-February, since it has a pattern of between 10 and 12 weeks between the first dose and the booster dose.
Janssen it is already administered in several autonomies, after receiving an initial batch of 300,000 doses. The next two months it will increase its shipments considerably, reaching 5.5 million doses in total before the end of June (1.3 million doses in May and 3.9 million in June). The great advantage of this vaccine is that it is a single dose.
After what the EMA has endorsed The vaccine designed that although there are “possible links” between the injection of serum doses and the cases of thrombosis, these are “very exceptional”, its inoculation is an oxygen balloon for this trimester.
To all this is added that in the last month, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has approved new manufacturing sites for Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca vaccines.
In addition, it must be taken into account that in this second quarter of the year the arrival of 3.5 million doses of Moderna is expected, and that there are two other vaccines about to be approved by the EMA: Curevac y Novavax. The Russian Sputnik V It is also in the process of being evaluated by the community regulator.
The month of April, therefore, is key for the launch of vaccination against COVID-19 in Spain, and, according to the forecasts of the Ministry of Health, the arrival of doses it will triple during the second quarter of the year, until June. Group immunity, given this data, seems to be more than viable towards the end of the summer.