Pfizer – BioNTech pledge to supply 2 billion doses to middle – and low – income countries within 18 months :
On 21 May 2021, Pfizer and BioNTech pledged to deliver around 2 billion doses of its COVID – 19 vaccine to less wealthy nations. The companies stated that they would supply these doses to the middle – and low–income countries over the next 18 months.
This was announced at a global health summit in Rome. This summit was co-hosted by the European Union’s executive arm and Italy. 
Pfizer’s CEO revealed that the companies expect to deliver around a billion doses in 2021 and another billion in 2022. But news over its delivery is still elusive. Both the companies have not yet announced if these will be delivered via the UN – backed COVAX program or directly to the countries.
Pfizer had adopted a three – tiered pricing policy in 2020 regarding the pricing of the shots. Per this, low – income countries get the shots at a lower cost. Middle – income countries, however, are required to pay half the price wealthier countries are charged.
At the beginning of the third week of May 2021, the COVAX program suffered a major setback. This occurred as SII claimed that it would not be possible to export the shots it had agreed upon until the end of 2020. SII stated that this was due to the COVID – 19 crisis on the subcontinent.
The UN Security Council has also expressed its concern over the vaccine supply in poorer countries. WHO has also urged the rich countries to donate their vaccines to the poorer countries before vaccinating the younger population.
Pfizer – BioNTech Announcement
On the global summit held on 21 May 2021, the company revealed that around 1.5 billion vaccine doses had been administered to date. These shots have been given in over 180 countries, of which only 0.3 % were in the low–income countries. Over 85 % of the vaccines were administered in wealthier countries.
To address this inequality in the vaccination rates, the European Union (EU) stressed the diversification of vaccine manufacturing. It revealed that Africa imported over 99 % of its vaccines and expressed its concern on this matter. EU hopes to collaborate with African partners to reduce the country’s dependency on other nations for vaccines. Several regional hubs are expected to be developed under this initiative, and over 1 billion euros have been invested for this purpose.
Apart from this, there was also a lack of consensus over the waiver of COVID – 19 vaccine patents in the summit. While Italy favors this notion at the moment, the EU officials oppose this. Per these officials, this move could have no immediate effect and may even have a negative impact.
- 1. Chief Executive Officer
- 2. United Nations
- 3. Serum Institute of India
- 4. World Health Organization