In the excitement about vaccination delays, Pfizer Austria now also speaks out. Austria is expected to receive 1.1 million Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine doses in the first quarter of 2021. So far, only 900,000 vaccine doses were planned.
In the discussion on supply bottlenecks for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, facts are likely to be literally lost. Pfizer-BioNTech will deliver not fewer but more doses of their mRNA vaccine in the first quarter of 2021 – 1.1 million doses to Austria instead of the originally planned 900,000 doses. By the end of 2021, vaccine could come to more than 60 percent of the population, Pfizer Austria managing director Robin Rumler told APA on Monday.
“Originally, Pfizer-BioNTech planned a production capacity of 1.3 billion cans worldwide. This has now increased to around two billion cans due to the adjustments currently underway at the Puurs plant in Belgium. Austria should receive around 900,000 cans in the first quarter of 2021.” . We will deliver 1.1 million doses. We could provide 11.1 million doses of our Covid-19 vaccine for Austria this year, “said Rumler. That would be enough vaccine for 62 percent of the population.
EU ordered 600 million cans
For the EU, the orders have now increased from the original 300 million doses of the Covid 19 vaccine based on mRNA from the cooperation between the US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the German company BioNTech to around 600 million. “So we don’t deliver less, but more. We would be happy if more Covid vaccines from other manufacturers were approved and come onto the market. But we also thought of a worst-case scenario and planned as early as possible, like ours Be able to further expand production in Europe, “explained Rumler. The Pfizer plant in Belgium is state-of-the-art, but needs to be adapted for the increased production capacity at short notice. “BioNTech has also taken over a production facility in Marburg, Germany. It will be added in February. The permits have already been received.”
At the moment, when using the mRNA vaccine, six doses should be drawn from a vial, explained the head of the medical-scientific department of Pfizer Austria, Sylvia Nanz. “ The EMA originally approved five doses from one vial. In the meantime, six doses have also been approved. This applies to the use of syringes or needles with a small dead space (as little residue as possible after use in the syringe and vial; note). The n you can definitely open six cans. ” With a particular skill, seven cans could sometimes run out. However, this contradicts the approval and is not recommended. “We definitely want those vaccinated to get the dose they need.”
Second vaccination after 21 days
In principle, the second vaccination should be administered 21 days after the first immunization. Here, too, the recommendations according to the approval should be adhered to, “explained the expert.” Of course, you can also give the second vaccination a little later. It is also possible that someone cannot be vaccinated again exactly after three weeks for other reasons. But in principle you should stick to the 21-day gap. ”
In the meantime, around 46,000 test persons (original evaluation for approval: 43,000 test persons) have already been included in the phase III clinical study (efficacy, tolerance) with the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine. “This includes around 2,200 people between the ages of twelve and 15,” said Sylvia Nanz. In this way, the approval is to be extended to this age group if it is effective (previously from 16 years). “As a result, there will also be a study with children under the age of twelve. But it is not yet running.” Around 7,500 people have made use of the option to switch from the original placebo group (half of the 43,000 test subjects) to the verum group with real vaccination. All study participants will be followed for two years under the current plans.
Real-world data will soon also be available
In the foreseeable future, so-called real-world data from the practical use of the vaccine outside of studies will also be available. Sylvia Nanz: “We are also investigating the effectiveness of around 20,000 health workers in the USA who have already received the vaccination.”
At the moment, the situation with the protective effect also looks “relatively good” with regard to observed mutations of SARS-CoV-2, emphasized the expert. A study by BioNTech under the designation B.1.1.7 (initially discovered in Great Britain) was able to show that the effectiveness was retained. A second study showed slightly different results. It is not clear whether the studies are really comparable. In any case, it looks like that stronger mutations of the pathogen might reduce the effectiveness of 95 percent, but it will not come to that. Coronaviruses are genetically fairly stable compared to other pathogens, especially influenza viruses, for example.
No herd immunity to be expected
Furthermore, one cannot expect “herd protection” from the SARS-CoV vaccines. For the time being, it was only about preventing Covid 19 disease in as many people as possible. The re are far too many children and young people up to the age of 16 for “herd protection” for whom the vaccines are not yet intended or approved. The Covid-19 pathogen can continue to circulate in this group, the Viennese specialist Herwig Kollaritsch recently explained.