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Pfizer has cut the volume of COVID-19 Vaccines it will deliver to European Union countries by as much as 50% this week, authorities said Thursday, amid rising frustration over the meager supplies that the American pharmaceutical company provides.
Romania will receive half of the planned supplies this week and deliveries will return to normal starting next week, Deputy Health Minister Andrei Baciu told Reuters.
The situation was similar in Poland, which obtained 176,000 doses of the vaccine from Pfizer on Monday, down about 50% from expectations, authorities said.
The Czech government was preparing for the disruption to supplies to spread for weeks, delaying the vaccination campaign when second doses were being applied.
“We estimate that there will be a reduction in the number of citations to vaccinate people in the next three weeks,” Health Minister Jan Blatny told reporters on Thursday, as Pfizer deliveries to the country have fallen by 15% this week. and they will drop by as much as 30% in the next two weeks.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have declined to comment on supply cuts beyond the statement they released last week announcing declines in shipments in order to expand manufacturing capacity in Europe.
The US pharmaceutical company has told Bulgaria and Poland that it will replace the missing doses, according to authorities.
But Denmark’s Serum Institute said the 50% lower volume in vaccines this week will lead to a 10% shortage in supplies in the first quarter.
As governments across the region try to adjust to dose cuts, some officials say Pfizer’s decision is undermining its efforts to inoculate its citizens and curb a pandemic that has caused more than 2 million deaths in the world.
On Wednesday, Italy threatened legal action against Pfizer.
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