The European Commission has reportedly made arrangements with Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) and various European pharmaceutical companies to secure the capacity to produce up to 325 million vaccines annually for potential future global health crises.
Under the agreement, companies will maintain their facilities in a state of readiness, monitor supply chains, and stockpile as needed, to enable rapid production if a new public health crisis arises, Reuters reported.
However, vaccine equity activists caution that this plan could repeat the “vaccine apartheid” observed during the COVID-19 crisis.
Pfizer’s plants in Ireland and Belgium have been chosen by the Commission to reserve mRNA vaccine production capacity; Spanish firms Reig Jofre and Laboratorios Hipra SA have been chosen for protein-based vaccine capacity and Bilthoven Biologicals B.V. of the Netherlands for vector-based vaccines.
Pfizer acknowledges the urgent need for improved pandemic preparedness and response planning and asserts that it has taken significant measures to prepare for potential future global disease outbreaks without specifying these measures.
Reig Jofre reveals that its deal with the EU reserves capacity for four years, with the option to extend up to a maximum of eight years, though financial details were undisclosed.
The World Health Organization has recommended that governments and manufacturers reserve up to 20% of any tests, vaccines, or treatments for distribution in poorer nations to avoid a recurrence of the “catastrophic failure” experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic. This suggestion is part of a draft global pandemic agreement currently under discussion.
Produced in association with Benzinga