Pfizer to expand exports of US-made COVID-19 shots with shipments to Canada starting next week
OTTAWA -Headline way too long. Maybe just go with Pfizer to start shipping to Canada/la
Pfizer Inc will next week start supplying Canada with COVID-19 vaccine made in its U.S. plant, a senior official said on Friday, making it the second country to receive doses from the Kalamazoo, Michigan facility.
Reuters reported on Thursday that Pfizer had started shipping doses made at the plant to Mexico, the first time the company has delivered abroad from U.S. facilities after a Trump-era restriction on its vaccine exports expired at the end of March.
"I can confirm that as of May 3, the Canadian supply of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will come from its manufacturing site in Kalamazoo," Canada federal Procurement Minister Anita Anand said.
"We expect to remain on the same delivery schedule, with 2 million doses expected each week in May, starting next week, and 2.4 million doses each week in June," she told a briefing.
The U.S. government has been under mounting pressure in recent weeks to help nations desperately in need of vaccines, particularly given its own swift progress vaccinating its residents. Many countries where the virus is still rampant are struggling to acquire vaccine supplies to help tame the pandemic.
Canada has deals with Pfizer for up to 76 million doses. Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE have previously been supplying various countries including Canada and Mexico with doses from Pfizer's main European production plant in Belgium.
Mexican health authorities told Reuters that the country received 2.2 million Pfizer shots this week from its Belgium facility and expects to receive Pfizer shipments of U.S.-made shots soon.
Pfizer has shipped more than 10 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to Mexico, making it the country's largest supplier of shots.
Pfizer is also shipping 1 million shots to Brazil this week, its health minister said on Wednesday. Pfizer signed an agreement in March to acquire 100 million Pfizer shots and it is in talks to purchase 100 million more.
A vaccine deal Pfizer signed with the White House last year had barred it from shipping doses made in the United States to other countries until after March 31, according to a source familiar with the matter and a U.S. official, who declined to be named because he was not authorized to speak to the press.
Pfizer will use extra capacity in its U.S. facilities to deliver shots abroad while continuing to meet its commitment to supply the United States, the source said, adding that the drugmaker will also make shipments from Belgium.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottowa, Carl O'Donnell in New York, Adriana Barrera and Raul Cortes in Mexico City; additional reporting by Gabriel Stargardter in Rio De Janiero; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)