A file photo taken on January 10, 2022 shows a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the coronaviruses COVID 19 in a vaccination centre in Santiago. JAVIER TORRES AFP LONDON ACCRA Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE said on Friday that they had agreed to push back deliveries of their COVID 19 vaccines to the European Union by three months as the bloc prepares for a potential booster campaign in the fall.
The European Commission has changed their supply agreement with the companies to push back delivery of doses scheduled for June through August through September through the fourth quarter of this year.
If and when this is needed later in the year, the amendment meets legitimate concerns on matching supply and demand, whilst ensuring security of vaccine supply, according to EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides.
Pfizer and BioNTech are testing other versions of the vaccine targeted at the Omicron variant of the coronaviruses. If one of the vaccines is approved by the autumn or winter period, EU countries will have access to the vaccines in the form of the adapted vaccines, according to the European Commission.
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Pfizer, the main supplier of EU, agreed last May with EU states to deliver 1.8 billion vaccines for up to 35 billion euros $36.44 billion, the largest supply deal ever signed during the epidemic.
The prevalence of COVID 19 infections in England fell to 1 in 45 people in the week ending May 7, down from an estimated 1 in 35 people who had the disease the previous week, according to the Office for National Statistics' Infection Survey.
An official from the West Africa Health Organization WAHO said yesterday that West Africa is close to starting local vaccine production for various health conditions in the subregion.
Stanley Okolo, the director-general of WAHO, spoke at a press conference after the 23rd Ordinary Meeting of the Assembly of Economic Community of West African States Health Ministers.
He said that the subregion would start manufacturing vaccines for health conditions, including COVID 19, yellow fever, rabies, and snake bites, to become self-sufficient in vaccine production and availability.
We have brought together five candidate companies that our assessment shows are close to vaccine manufacturing in our region. Two of them are from Ghana, two from Nigeria and one from Senegal, said Okolo.
ALSO READ: WHO: Africa seeing a rise in COVID cases driven by S.Africa
In the medium- to long term, he said that the West African region could produce 22 vaccines after strengthening the pharmaceutical industry.
The director-general stated that WAHO has collaborated with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization UNIDO to develop roadmaps for getting pharmaceutical companies onto good manufacturing practices, a system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards.