Pfizer delays delivery of weekly vaccine batch by one day due to problems at Belgian plant

Updated: Monday, December 28, 2020 11:09 AM

Published on: 12/28/2020 7:56 AM

The first weekly batch of 350,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine that Spain planned to receive on Monday to continue the vaccination campaign has been postponed until Tuesday due to a delay by pharmaceutical company Pfizer which it attributes to the loading process and shipping from its factory in Belgium.

“It appears to be an incident in the loading and shipping process, relative to the temperature. It seems to be resolved, as the CEO of Pfizer Spain told me. They should be available tomorrow,” Minister Illa said in an interview with Cadena SER, who adds that yesterday’s process worked as expected. “The health system has planned a lot. The doses were administered as planned,” he said.

Pfizer Spain has assured the Ministry of Health that the delivery “will be delayed by an hour” and that the vaccines committed for Monday will finally arrive Tuesday. The pharmaceutical laboratory informed the service headed by Illa that that very night, it had been informed by its factory in Puurs (Belgium) “of the delay in shipments to eight European countries, including Spain, due to a problem in the loading and shipping process “. .

The Health Ministry reported that, according to the pharmacist, “the situation is already resolved”, although “the next delivery of vaccines will be delayed by a few hours and will arrive in Spain on Tuesday, December 29 for the continuation of the vaccination throughout along the national territory “.

This Sunday, the vaccination campaign began in all the autonomous communities with a first delivery of vaccines which were delivered on Saturday by the pharmaceutical company. During the next twelve weeks, weekly batches of 350,000 doses are expected to arrive in Spain until the completion of approximately 4.5 million injections purchased from the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer and the German BioNTech.

The vaccination plan

In this first stage of vaccination, inmates and workers in nursing homes and centers for people with disabilities, health personnel and older dependents will benefit as they are the most vulnerable and exposed groups. There will be 2.29 million citizens who will be vaccinated between January and March with the double dose of the vaccine to be applied, which will be distributed equally among the regions according to their population at risk.

The first 9,750 units of Pfizer, the same amount received by each EU country, began to be injected this Sunday in all the autonomous communities.

The first vaccinated in Spain

Araceli Hidalgo, 96, the oldest resident of the Los Olmos center in Guadalajara, and the auxiliary nurse Mónica Tapias, the youngest worker at the center, were the first people to receive the drug in Spain.

“It is a day of hope in Europe and Spain. We are facing the beginning of the end,” Minister Illa said on Sunday, although he appealed not to trust each other because “there is It will not be easy for months to come “.

In addition to the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine, it is expected that in the near future, the one from Moderna will be available, which will be evaluated by the European Medicines Agency on January 6. The vaccine comes at a time of rebound in coronavirus infections in Spain, with an increase in the cumulative incidence, reaching 262 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

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