Pfizer, the supplier of the COVID-19 vaccine, has announced reduced vaccine deliveries starting next week and for some time ahead.
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) has prepared for this eventuality with an emergency stockpile and can therefore deliver as planned to municipalities and health services, as reported on its website.
"For Norway, this means that in week 3 we will receive 7,800 fewer doses than Pfizer had previously reported," says Geir Bukholm, Director of Infection Prevention and Control at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
Read alsoOver 20 people vaccinated with Pfizer vaccine die in Norway – media"We were notified just before 10 a.m. today. We were predicted to receive 43,875 vaccine doses from Pfizer in week 3. Now it looks like we will receive 36,075 doses. We have not yet sent out what we have kept in readiness for such cases and are now able to compensate for this reduction in deliveries with the emergency stockpile we have in Norway. Our current stockpile will be able to compensate for a reduction in the planned deliveries for a few weeks ahead, should the need arise," says Bukholm.
The reduction is due to a reorganisation at Pfizer in connection with an upgrade of production capacity. Once this upgrade is completed, they will be able to increase their production of the vaccine from the current 1.3 billion doses per year, to 2 billion doses per year. The temporary reduction in supplies will affect all European countries.
It is not yet clear how long it will take before Pfizer is up to maximum production capacity again.
In turn, six European Union governments asked the executive EU Commission in a letter on Friday to pressure Pfizer-BioNTech, "to ensure stability and transparency of timely deliveries" of vaccines against COVID-19, as reported by Reuters.
The letter, signed by the health ministers of Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, said Pfizer/BionTech had told them that agreed vaccine deliveries in the coming weeks would be substantially reduced.
"This situation is unacceptable," said the letter, which was seen by Reuters. "Not only does it impact the planned vaccination schedules, it also decreases the credibility of the vaccination process."