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Pfizer Slows Non-U.S. Vaccine Deliveries Amid Manufacturing Changes; Boosts 2021 Dose Goal to 2 Billion

Pfizer's re-tooling of its vaccine output procedures will slow non-U.S. deliveries in the coming weeks, but the drugmaker said the changes will allow it to deliver 2 billion doses by the end of the year.

Pfizer Inc.  (PFE) - Get Pfizer Inc. Report vowed Friday to boost the manufacturing pace of its newly-approved coronavirus vaccine with the aim of delivering 2 billion doses by the end of the year. 

Pfizer said it will will boost its goal by 700 million doses as it makes changes to both its facilities and processes that will temporarily impact shipments to several non-U.S. countries in January and February from its factory in Puurs, Belgium. But the drugmaker, which manufactures the vaccine with its German partner, BioNTech  (BNTX) - Get BioNTech SE Report, said the delays will be offset by what it says will be "significant" increases in available doses in March and beyond. 

“As part of the normal productivity improvements to increase capacity, we must make modifications to the process and facility that will require additional regulatory approvals,” Pfizer said in a statement shared with various media organizations. “Although this will temporarily impact shipments in late January to early February, it will provide a significant increase in doses available for patients in late February and March.”

Pfizer shares were marked 0.7% lower in early Friday trading on the New York Stock Exchange to change hands at $36.50 each. 

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Last month, Pfizer and BioNTech reached an agreement with the U.S. government's to bring the pair's total vaccine commitment under the Operation Warp Speed program to 200 million doses, enough to protect just under one third of the total U.S. population, by the end of July. 

Around 70 million doses will be delivered by June 30, the companies said on December 23.

Pfizer and BioNTech won Emergency Use Authorization approval from the Food & Drug Administration for its BNT162b2 vaccine earlier this month after late-stage data showed it reached a 95% efficacy rate across all age and race demographics and based on a total case cohort of 170.

“Securing more doses from Pfizer and BioNTech for delivery in the second quarter of 2021 further expands our supply of doses across the Operation Warp Speed portfolio,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “This new federal purchase can give Americans even more confidence that we will have enough supply to vaccinate every American who wants it by June 2021.”