U.S. Pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech announced Monday plans to boost production of its COVID-19 vaccine by 50% percent — 2 billion doses — this year to meet the global demand.
BioNTech announced the increased supply as part of a presentation at a health care conference. The company said a new production site in Marburg, Germany, expected to become operational by the end of next month, will be able to make as many as 750 million doses per year. That means a total of six facilities will be producing the vaccine — three in Germany, and three operated by Pfizer in the United States.
The partners have already committed 1 billion doses for delivery. Last week, the European Union announced a deal for an additional 300 million doses of the vaccine, doubling their supply.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said last week it is continuing negotiations with the companies about securing doses for the vaccine cooperative COVAX, organized by the agency to provide vaccines for low-income nations. No agreement has been reached.
Last week, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed concern about wealthy nations buying up the supply of vaccines and leaving none for the developing world. He has argued that the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be defeated unless vaccines are distributed equitably.