Pfizer scaled back vaccine supply after learning about ‘bonus doses’
Share article:
Share article:

Pfizer scaled back vaccine supply after learning about ‘bonus doses’

Credit: Belga

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer reduced the number of deliveries after hearing that a sixth “bonus dose” could be extracted from a vial, according to Belgium’s federal vaccine task force.

Last weekend, Pfizer announced that it wanted to scale up and would therefore temporarily be able to supply fewer vaccines, but that was not the only reason for the sudden delay of the vaccinations among hospital staff, of which the government was informed on Tuesday afternoon.

The reduction in supply is linked to the fact that six doses can now be taken from a Pfizer vial instead of five, according to Sabine Stordeur (UCL) of the federal vaccination task force.

She told Le Soir that the contract between Pfizer and Belgium is calculated on the number of doses, and not on the number of vials.

This means that now that the company is aware of the fact that Belgium – and other countries as well – could almost consistently get six doses, it scaled back deliveries.

Related News:


“Coming from 92 plateaus with 195 vials, we are now down to 76 plateaus,” Stordeur said. “We knew that there was a chance that they would adjust that. And they did. It is still a commercial company. It was a mistake to think we could win a dose this way.”

“We were counting the vials, but Pfizer counted the doses according to the contract,” Caroline Leys, spokesperson for the task force, confirmed to De Standaard.

Belgian virologist Marc Van Ranst also reacted to the news on Twitter, asking if he could think that the reduced delivery was “not very decent” of the company.

In the meantime, the federal medicines agency FAMHP has also indicated that Pfizer has officially changed the information on the package to say that six rather than five doses can be taken from a vial.

“That applies to the whole of Europe, those reports have been adapted,” said spokesperson Ann Eeckhout. “This is nothing new for us, but it does have an impact on the communication of the figures. That is precisely why we communicate in the number of doses supplied and not in vials. At least we were able to take advantage of the six doses instead of five for a short time.”

The impact of the production adjustment at Pfizer this week is still “minor” for Belgium, according to FAMHP, but the impact will be slightly bigger next week, but in February deliveries should increase slightly. “The intention is still to receive all planned deliveries by the end of the first quarter,” Eeckhout said.

On Wednesday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressed that Pfizer “must” deliver the contractually agreed quantity of doses of their Covid-19 vaccine, adding that it concerns a “medical necessity.”

The contracts must be respected, she stressed, reminding that all people who were among the first ones to be vaccinated are now at the moment when they should receive their second injection.

Maïthé Chini
The Brussels Times

Latest news

Pollution scandal: 3M to show emissions don’t pose risk or halt production
Flanders has ordered American company 3M, involved in a pollution scandal in Antwerp, to prove that emissions linked to its production activities do ...
The Netherlands fears a greater rise in sea levels than forecast
Sea levels could rise by up to two metres by 2100 on the Dutch coastline – far more than previously forecast – according to an announcement from the ...
The Smurfs return to Belgian TV with the first new show since 1989
A new Smurfs show is bringing the characters of Belgium's second-most-famous comic franchise back to the small screen with their first new series, 30 ...
Almost half of Belgian subsidies from EU left unused
Belgium left almost half (49%) of its subsidies allocated by the European Union between 2013 and 2020 unused, the equivalent of around €1.375 ...
Visitors to embark on Orient Express adventure at Brussels exhibition
An exhibition dedicated to the Orient Express – the train that was the scene for many novels, including Agatha Christie's – allows visitors to ...
Offers for fake Covid Safe Tickets circulating on social media
As the Covid Safe Ticket (CST) becomes mandatory in many places across Belgium, offers for forgeries are increasingly circulating on social media. ...
Belgium in Brief: Feeling Good/ Pandemic Law
Yesterday I said I was writing a newsletter I didn't want to write again. Today I'm writing another one ahead of a meeting that wasn't supposed ...
Eating less meat won’t actually help much with Flemish CO2 emissions
When it comes to the ways in which ordinary people can help to reduce CO2 emissions, eating less meat is often touted as an important solution. ...
At least one in seven coronavirus patients suffers from long-term Covid
Six months after becoming infected with the coronavirus, at least one in seven people still show symptoms connected to the infection, varying from ...
Operation Sky ECC: Major arrests and another large scale operation
A major operation took place last night in Belgium as a result of Operation Sky ECC, the name given to an investigation into organised crime that ...
On this day in Brussels: An entrepreneurial journey begins
The Rue Dansaert was just beginning to become trendy when Alain Coumont opened his first bakery here on 26 October 1990. He started by baking big ...
Consultative Committee expected to discuss telework and state of emergency
On Tuesday afternoon, Belgium's Consultative Committee will be meeting earlier than expected to discuss the worsening epidemiological situation. ...