Vaccine exports from US resumed
May 10, 2021
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by Snigdh Baunthiyal

A Trump-era restriction on vaccine export expired in March. Vaccine export from the United States has therefore now resumed. This, therefore, led to Pfizer exporting its made-in-USA shots to Mexico. Thus, the vaccine shipment was produced at Pfizer’s Kalamazoo plant in Michigan.

The United States has been under pressure in recent weeks to provide vaccines to other nations. The country has made good progress in the vaccination of its citizens. That could bring the country closer to the coveted herd immunity.

Mexico’s health ministry will receive two million doses from Pfizer. It has received more than one million doses from Belgium already and expects about another million. It is not yet confirmed if the remaining doses will be shipped from Pfizer’s Michigan plant.

However, many countries are still struggling to acquire vaccine shots to help deal with the pandemic. Wealthier countries have come under criticism for stocking up on vaccines. It appears they are refusing to export their surplus shots to countries where the stocks are running dangerously low and citizens struggle to receive vaccination.

Pfizer and Moderna Inc remain the vaccines of choice in wealthier countries as well because of their high efficacy rate. On the other hand, Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca are coming under review due to multiple reports of side effects.

AlJazeera has also reported that Pfizer will continue to export to other countries, including Belgium, while easily meeting the commitment supply to US. 

Pfizer’s vaccine inventory so far

Pfizer has said that it will produce around 25 million shots per week in the US by mid 2021. This is more than what Pfizer needs to meet its commitment of delivering 300 million doses to the US by July end.

Pfizer has agreements with multiple governments across the world to supply them with around a billion doses. The company currently has the capacity to produce as many as 2.5 billion vaccine doses by the end of this year.

Pressure on US to help other countries’ and their vaccination drive

Vaccination program in the US has been among the quickest and most successful in the world. Nearly 240 million shots have been administered to more than 140 million people so far. The United States government had come under criticism for ‘hoarding’ vaccines and stopping export to other countries which needed immediate help. The White House announced last week that it will export up to 60 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine. These vaccines will be made in a US facility. The US government is no longer relying on Astra’s vaccine to meet its goal of having enough people vaccinated by June.

The White House has also announced that it will ship raw materials, medical equipment and protective gear to India where the health system has been severely impacted since April. The US has not yet promised to ship any vaccine shipments to India.

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