The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations predicted that Covid-19 vaccine production, without any major setbacks, would be 24 billion by June, and is estimated to surpass 12 billion doses by year-end.
In the coming year, the supply of vaccine doses could trump its demand for the first time. Furthermore, by the start of next year, it is possible that there will be enough doses to jab every adult around the globe.
These projections are made through modeling by Airfinity, an information and analytics company based in London. Approximately 50% of these vaccine doses are to come from manufactures from China.
The association stressed, “strategically release doses so that vaccines leave the production lines and reach the people who need them most, from healthcare workers to vulnerable populations.” iterating that regardless of the likely large number of doses available, low and middle-income countries will have access to these doses only if high-income countries stop stockpiling the vaccine and allow access.
The reason for the above statement is that a significant number of vaccines in production are already booked. Examples of this include Pfizer which is expected to have produced 3 billion doses this year, but all of these doses have been booked. Pfizer’s Chairman and CEO, Albert Bourla further stated that Pfizer is expected to have produced 4 billion doses in the coming year, with most of them having been assigned already.
According to Airfinity estimations, the U.S., Canada, U.K., and the EU will possibly have 500 million vaccine doses that they could redistribute by September end. Their modeling report also found that even if the G-7 group of nations provide their own populations with booster shots, 1.2 billion doses will still be available for low and middle-income countries in the present year.
However, with only 3% of the Africa continent population having been fully vaccinated and the international COVAX initiative having supply chain problems, most people do not believe that this promise of vaccine distribution will materialize.
The founder and director of Health Justice in South Africa, Fatima Hassan expressed that Pharmaceutical Manufacturers greatly limit the manufacturing of their vaccines and this system has led to failures for the safety of the global economy. Thus, even with the expected quantity of doses becoming available, they may not be equitably distributed among the global population. Further adding “Now we’ve been told to still wait; equity for us is something that might happen next year, what happens in the meantime? Must we all get sick and die? And have a wave four, a wave five, and a wave six?”
It is possible to vaccinate the global adult population by June, according to Airfinity’s projections.
Pharmaceutical Manufacturers debate that resources are spent wiser on manufacturing at their current capacities and with their picked partners, while there is pressure on these companies to switch to a wider base of manufacturers globally, and provide them with the necessary technological training for production.
When companies have expanded their manufacturing, it has not always worked out for the better. Johnson & Johnson has such a contract with South African Aspen Pharmacare. This involves Aspen Pharmacare carrying out the “fill and finish” portion of manufacturing after the vaccine has been sent from Europe, to be first placed in bottles and then shipped from their plant. Johnson & Johnson faced heavy controversy after these bottled vaccines reached Europe and since then, the company has discontinued the arrangement, however, the contracts are not viewable for the public.
Vice-Chairman of the Executive committee and chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson, Paul Stoffels, further informed that the company is in the process of carrying out technology transfer to Indian Biological E, in order to enable it to produce the vaccine.