Pfizer Cuts December Vaccine Output Forecast in Half: Report

Drugmaker cites supply chain issues for slower-than-forecast rollout
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Pfizer, Inc.  (PFE) - Get Report has cut its forecast of the number of coronavirus vaccine doses it expects to produce by the end of the year in half, according to a published report Thursday.

The company now expects to supply 50 million vaccines as opposed to the 100 million originally forecast before the end of the year, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Pfizer and its partner, BioN Tech  (BNTX) - Get Report, had expected to produce 100 million vaccines by year’s end, but are now projecting 50 million because of supply-chain problems, the paper reported. The companies still expect to produce a billion doses of the vaccine in 2021.

Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine is one of three close to approval for use in the U.S. The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine won emergency use approval in the UK on Wednesday. It faces additional scrutiny from U.S. regulators, but is expected to be approved by mid-December.

Hope that one or more vaccines can be rolled out quickly has helped boost Wall Street optimism in recent weeks as shares have reached record levels in recent days. On Thursday, stocks finished mixed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 85 points, or 0.29%, to 29,969, the S&P 500 ended down 0.06% and the Nasdaq rose 0.23%.

But the optimism comes as the pandemic is intensifying in the United States. 

More than 3,000 deaths from Covid were reported Wednesday, and more than 200,000 new infections were reported. As hospitals are filling with Covid patients, their ability to handle people with other illnesses is being constrained. The number of available health workers is also under pressure, as many doctors and nurses are themselves being sidelined with Covid. 

Shares of Pfizer fell 19 cents, or 0.5% to $39.90 in after-hours trading Thursday. BioNTech ADRs slids $1.09, or 1%, to $117.59.