US cuts global donations to Pfizer COVID shots as demand slows

US cuts global donations to Pfizer COVID shots as demand slows

Written by Michael Ehrman

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The United States is dramatically reducing the number of doses of the Pfizer/Bioantek COVID-19 vaccine it will buy to donate to poor countries this year. Pfizer (NYSE 🙂 said Thursday, citing declining demand for the shots in those countries.

Pfizer said it has agreed to cut the number of doses it will provide by the end of the year to 600 million, down from the 1 billion dose commitment the US government made a year ago.

The United States will have the option to purchase up to 400 million additional rounds for the program after this year.

The drug manufacturer said it will have enough supplies to deliver the full 1 billion doses under the US commitment, but that “we are seeing reduced demand in some low- and middle-income countries due to management barriers and vaccine hesitation.”

The US Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The revised terms of the contract were reported by Bloomberg.

Pfizer said it has already delivered 400 million doses of the vaccine in 79 countries under a US government contract.

The vaccine doses were donated through the COVAX program, run by the World Health Organization and the Global Vaccine Alliance GAVI, which aimed to get COVID-19 shots to the world’s poorest countries.

The program initially struggled to obtain enough vaccine to meet its mission, but improved production from manufacturers led to a glut in doses in 2022.

COVAX has been negotiating since June with vaccine manufacturers to reduce or slow the delivery of 400 million to 600 million doses of vaccine from its own contracts.

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