Pfizer’s announcement on Friday that its vaccine deliveries will be reduced next week has drawn strong reactions from a vaccination task force appointed by Belgium’s government.
The announcement, made less than 48 hours before the delivery was due, and “without any clear explanation,” is “incomprehensible” and “unacceptable,” Vaccination Task Force member Xavier De Cuyper, head of the Federal Medicines Agency, AFMPS, commented on Saturday at an online press conference.
The 40,000-unit shortfall announced by Pfizer, which said it would deliver 60,000 doses of its vaccine instead of 100,000, “will force us to rethink our vaccination schedule for the coming week,” De Cuyper said. This will be a particularly difficult exercise since “we still haven’t been given the exact number” of doses to be delivered, he added.
“We were very surprised,” said task force head Dirk Ramaekers. “This is not our best evening…”
The experts said the reduced number of vaccines should not have any incidence on the planned vaccination, next week, of elderly persons, who have been given top priority because of their severe vulnerability.
However, it could affect the beginning of the vaccination programme for hospital staff and other frontline workers, which should normally begin next week.