Pfizer and Moderna Promise Major Boosts in Vaccine Supply

After a disappointingly slow start, drug company executives told Congress Tuesday that they have ironed out startup problems and expect to deliver enough vaccines to immunize 300 million people in the United States by the end of July.
Moderna and Pfizer officials told the House Energy and Commerce Committee that they had greatly expanded manufacturing capacity and were on track to deliver additional doses that the Biden administration purchased earlier this month. 
Moderna President Stephen Hoge said in written testimony that the company had doubled deliveries since late 2020 and expects to double them again by April to 40 million doses per month. He said the company expects to deliver 100 million doses by the end of March.
The company had run into problems meeting delivery schedules because of a bottleneck at a vial-filling plant. Hoge said the company is adding another plant to speed up production.  
With increased capacity, Moderna is moving up the delivery schedule of its next 100 million doses from the end of June to the end of May, and a third 100 million from the end of September to the end of July.
Pfizer, the other company with a vaccine being delivered in the United States, has also made “significant (emphasis in the original) investments in our U.S. manufacturing sites,” Chief Business Officer John Young said in written testimony.  
The company has added production lines, doubled batch sizes, increased batch yields and sped up lab tests, he said.  
As a result, Pfizer expects to deliver 13 million doses per week by the middle of March, up from four to five million at the beginning of February.  
“Because of the dire need to vaccinate more people, we have ramped up production of doses,” Young said.
The company has raised its global production target for 2021 from 1.2 billion doses to 2 billion.  
Pfizer also has an agreement to provide 40 million doses to COVAX, the global initiative to support equitable vaccine delivery to countries regardless of income level. Moderna has not committed doses to COVAX.
Separately, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s advisory committee will meet Friday to consider another vaccine, from pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson.  
The single-dose vaccine was 72% effective in a clinical trial in the United States. If approved, the company says it will be able to deliver 100 million doses in the first half of 2021, greatly increasing the vaccine supply.  

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