Feb 19, 2021 - Health

Pfizer says it's ramping up vaccine production

US President Joe Biden listens to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla speak at the Pfizer Kalamazoo Manufacturing Site February 19, 2021, in Portage, Michigan. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP)

Biden listens to Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla speak at the Pfizer Kalamazoo Manufacturing Site in Portage, Michigan. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said Friday that the company was adding suppliers and expanding it manufacturing capacity to ramp up production of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.

The big picture: Bourla made the announcement alongside President Biden, who reiterated his earlier comments that the U.S. was on track to have enough vaccine supply for all Americans by the end of July.

What they're saying: “We expect to increase the number of doses being shipped from the U.S., for the U.S. from ... 5 million doses per week, which is the average now, to more than double,” Bourla said from a Pfizer factory, just outside Kalamazoo, Michigan.

  • Pfizer is now on track to deliver 120 million doses to the U.S. by the end of March, and 200 million doses by the end of May, Bourla said, two months ahead of schedule.
  • Bourla also said Pfizer was seeking to update its FDA emergency use authorization to allow its vaccine to be stored at normal freezer temperatures, which would make shipping and distribution easier.
  • He also commended the Biden administration, which he called a "great ally."

Biden, after touring the Pfizer facility, said: "I can't give you a date when this crisis will end. But I can tell you we're doing everything possible to have that day come sooner rather than later."

  • He also called on Congress to pass his $1.9 trillion COVID relief package, and encouraged Americans to get the vaccine when available and continue to wear masks and social distance.

Worth noting: The extreme winter weather this week delayed the delivery of 6 million COVID-19 vaccine doses, but the logistical hurdles are expected to be resolved by next week, the White House coronavirus task force said earlier Friday, Axios' Marisa Fernandez reported.

Go deeper: U.S. administering average of 1.7 million vaccine doses per day

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