EU and BioNTech/Pfizer clash over reduced vaccine deliveries

EU and BioNTech/Pfizer clash over reduced vaccine deliveries

European officials say supply changes after ruling on doses per vial could derail vaccination plans

A decision by Pfizer and BioNTech to reduce the number of vaccine vials they send to European countries has forced health officials to slow vaccination plans, with at least one EU member state threatening legal action as tensions over limited supplies mount.

The move by the manufacturers followed a ruling this month from the European Medicines Agency that six doses can be extracted from each BioNTech/Pfizer vial rather than five, after health professionals found there was often extra vaccine left over.

Pfizer and BioNTech’s contracts with governments are for set numbers of doses and the companies have responded to the adjusted guidance by reducing the number of vials they deliver. But to ensure that six doses are extracted, healthcare providers must use a special kind of needle, called a low dead volume syringe.