Monday, May 10

BioNTech estimates it can manufacture two billion vaccines in 2021

The Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, in Germany. – Hendrik Schmidt / AP / SIPA

BioNTech is stepping up production of vaccines against Covid-19. The German firm announced on Monday to be able to manufacture two billion doses in 2021. This is more than its previous target, which amounted to 1.3 billion doses.

The German SME, associated with the American giant Pfizer, arrived at this new estimate taking into account the “new standard” allowing six doses to be administered per vial instead of five, according to a document posted on its website. BioNTech is also counting on “the expansion of its current facilities”, including the commissioning, expected at the end of February, of another European production site, in Marburg, Germany.

Increase production

This new plant, described as a “major inflection point” by the company, will add “up to 750 million doses” to annual production capacity. The quantity of doses available is one of the major challenges of a vaccination strategy against Covid-19 at the global level.

The Marburg site, the second in Germany, could already provide 250 million additional doses in the first half of the year, reinforcing the Belgian plant in Puurs where batches for the EU are produced. The German-American alliance also has three production sites in the United States.

200 million doses for the EU

Today’s announcement comes as the European Commission Brussels announced last Wednesday a new agreement with the Pfizer-BioNTech duo, providing for a firm pre-order of 200 million additional doses of their anti-Covid vaccine, with an option for 100 millions more.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) indicated last Friday that it is possible to extract six doses per vial of the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine against Covid-19 with the appropriate syringes, thus increasing the capacity of use vaccines already ordered.

The launch of the vaccination is the subject of criticism in several European countries – notably in France, where the campaign started very slowly, and in Germany, where doctors deplore that hospital staff are not given priority due to lack of sufficient doses. .

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