Wed, 12 May 2021

U.S.-made vaccines being exported to Mexico, elsewhere

Robert Besser
04 May 2021, 05:43 GMT+10

NEW YORK, NEW York: Pfizer Inc's shipment of COVID-19 vaccines to Mexico this week includes doses made in its Kalamazoo, Michigan plant, marking the first time the drugmaker is delivering abroad from U.S facilities, after a Trump-era restriction on exports expired at the end of March, sources say.

This is the first of what are expected to be ongoing exports of its vaccinations from the United States, as the U.S. government has been under pressure in recent weeks to provide surplus vaccines to other nations in need, after making swift progress vaccinating the American people.

The U.S. vaccination campaign has been among the quickest and most successful in the world, with nearly 240 million shots administered to more than 140 million residents, according to federal data updated on Thursday.

Wealthy governments have been stocking up on COVID-19 inoculations from Pfizer and Moderna because of their high efficacy and after safety concerns and production problems temporarily sidelined the AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

Pfizer has shipped more than 10 million doses to Mexico, so far, becoming its largest supplier of COVID-19 vaccines, with the country's health ministry announcing it is receiving 2 million doses starting this week.

More than one million doses have come from the Belgium plant since Wednesday, while another one million are expected this week.

Pfizer will use its extra stocks from its U.S. facilities to deliver shots abroad, while continuing to meet its commitment to supply the United States, the source said, adding that the drugmaker will also deliver shipments from Belgium.

The company expects to produce as many as 2.5 billion vaccine doses in 2021 and already has agreements to supply more than one billion doses to governments around the world.

An agreement Pfizer signed with the White House last year had barred it from shipping doses made in the United States to other countries until after March 31, according to the source.

Meanwhile, the White House, on Monday, said it would export up to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine made in a U.S. facility, and which it no longer anticipates using, to countries in need.

Also, the U.S. government said on Sunday it will immediately ship raw materials for COVID-19 vaccines, medical equipment, and protective gear to India, which has become the latest epicenter of the pandemic. However, it has not yet promised finished vaccine shipments to India.

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