In this file photo taken on January 10, 2022 a health worker shows a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the coronavirus disease COVID-19 at a vaccination centre in Santiago. (JAVIER TORRES / AFP)
LONDON / ACCRA - Pfizer Inc and its German partner BioNTech SE said on Friday 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 companies amended their supply agreement with the European Commission to push back delivery of doses scheduled for June through August until September through the fourth quarter of this year.
Pfizer and BioNTech are currently testing other versions of the vaccine targeted at the Omicron variant of the coronavirus
"This amendment meets legitimate concerns on matching supply and demand, whilst ensuring security of vaccine supply if and when this is needed later in the year," EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in a statement.
Pfizer and BioNTech are currently testing other versions of the vaccine targeted at the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. If one of those vaccines is authorized by the autumn or winter period, EU countries will have access to the deliveries in the form of the adapted vaccines, the European Commission said.
The change of delivery schedule does not impact the companies' full-year revenue outlook or the full-year commitment of doses to be delivered to the region in 2022, Pfizer and its German partner said.
Pfizer, by far the main supplier to the EU, agreed last May with EU states to deliver up to 1.8 billion vaccines for up to 35 billion euros ($36.44 billion), in the largest supply deal ever signed during the pandemic.
The prevalence of COVID-19 infections in England fell to 1 in 45 people in the week ending May 7, the Office for National Statistics' Infection Survey said, down from an estimated 1 in 35 people who had the infection the previous week.
West Africa edges close to starting local vaccine production for various health conditions in the subregion, an official from the West Africa Health Organization (WAHO) said Friday.
Stanley Okolo, the director-general of WAHO, made the remarks at a press briefing 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 brought together five candidate companies whom our assessment shows are close to vaccine manufacturing now in our region. Two of them are from Ghana, two from Nigeria, and one from Senegal," said Okolo.
In the medium-to-long term, he said the West African region could produce 22 vaccines after strengthening the pharmaceutical industry.
The director-general also noted that WAHO has partnered with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) to develop roadmaps for getting pharmaceutical companies onto good manufacturing practice, a system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards.
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