Pfizer to slow supplies of Covid vaccines to Poland - official

Poland expects lower-than-expected supplies of Covid-19 vaccines from the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in the coming weeks, the government’s commissioner for the country's vaccination strategy said on Friday.

Michał Dworczyk told a press conference that the government had just received information, also confirmed by the international media, that the Pfizer company will "significantly" reduce the supply of the vaccine to Poland and other European countries in the coming weeks.

At the same time, the official said that everyone who received the first dose of the vaccine would also receive the second.

He added that the government is waiting for more detailed information on the shortages.

Later on Friday, Dworczyk specified that according to information received from Pfizer by phone, this Monday's supply will be reduced by 40 percent. He added that "limited quantities will be delivered for the next three-four weeks," however the government does not yet have specific information on the extent of disruption to the supply chain.

"Then, in the following weeks, these deliveries are to be increased, so that the first quarter would end with the same number of vaccines that were planned," Dworczyk said.

He added that the reduction in supplies may affect the pace of en masse inoculations. "But we will only be able to tell about this after Pfizer officially informs us on how much the deliveries will be reduced," Dworczyk said.

He said that Pfizer had explained the shortages are caused by modifications to manufacturing processes.

"Apparently, the company plans to upgrade its production capacity, and therefore some technological break is needed and hence a reduction in deliveries, however, as the company had announced, one can expect that in the subsequent weeks these deliveries will be significantly larger," Dworczyk said.

Pfizer had said it wants to boost production output to 2 billion vaccine doses per year from 1.3 billion currently.

As of January 15, seniors over 80 can register for vaccinations against Covid-19 in Poland.

Dworczyk added that the medical council at the Prime Minister's Office had said that in light of the reduced supplies of vaccines, adding teachers to the group of seniors, as originally planned, is absolutely impossible.