America will receive far fewer COVID-19 vaccines than hoped due to a decision made in the final days of the Trump administration.
"In December, pharmacists made the happy discovery that they could squeeze an extra vaccine dose out of Pfizer vials that were supposed to contain only five. Now, it appears, the bill is due. Pfizer plans to count the surprise sixth dose toward its previous commitment of 200 million doses of Covid vaccine by the end of July and therefore will be providing fewer vials than once expected for the United States," The New York Times reported Friday evening. "And yet, pharmacists at some vaccination sites say they are still struggling to reliably extract the extra doses, which require the use of a specialty syringe."
"For weeks, Pfizer executives pushed officials at the Food and Drug Administration to change the wording of the vaccine's so-called emergency use authorization so that it formally acknowledged that the vials contained six doses, not five," the newspaper reported. "The distinction was critical: Pfizer's contract with the federal government requires that it be paid by the dose. And there were serious public health implications. If the label's formal language told people administering the vaccine that the vial contained a sixth dose, that could accelerate the pace of vaccinations at a crucial time. At one point, Pfizer executives lashed out at the top federal vaccine regulator over the government's hesitation to approve the request, according to people familiar with the discussions who were not authorized to discuss them."
The Trump administration approved Ffizer's request on January 6th.
The newspaper reported that Pfizer "can now sell vials the United States had been expecting to other countries, or charge the United States for them in future deals."
Read the full report.