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COVID-19 Resource Center

Source:

House Committee on Energy & Commerce. Hearing on “Pathway to protection: Expanding availability of COVID-19 vaccines.” https://energycommerce.house.gov/committee-activity/hearings/hearing-on-pathway-to-protection-expanding-availability-of-covid-19. Accessed Feb. 23, 2021.

Disclosures: DeGette and Griffith report no relevant financial disclosures. Dobber, Hoge, Nettles, Trizzino and Young are employed by the pharmaceutical companies they represented.
February 23, 2021
3 min read
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Pharmaceutical execs pledge to increase COVID-19 vaccine output

Source:

House Committee on Energy & Commerce. Hearing on “Pathway to protection: Expanding availability of COVID-19 vaccines.” https://energycommerce.house.gov/committee-activity/hearings/hearing-on-pathway-to-protection-expanding-availability-of-covid-19. Accessed Feb. 23, 2021.

Disclosures: DeGette and Griffith report no relevant financial disclosures. Dobber, Hoge, Nettles, Trizzino and Young are employed by the pharmaceutical companies they represented.
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Pharmaceutical executives from Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca and Novavax testified Tuesday that they are on track to deliver a combined 1.1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States by the end of July.

The executives answered questions from a House Energy & Commerce subcommittee on oversight and investigations. Their testimony came as the pace of the U.S. vaccine rollout continues to increase after a slow start.

Novavax Executive Vice President John Trizzino gives a short presentation on how the Novavax vaccine works against wild-type SARS-CoV-2, as well as variants.
Novavax Executive Vice President John Trizzino gives a short presentation on how the Novavax vaccine works against wild-type SARS-CoV-2, as well as variants.

Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), who chairs the subcommittee, questioned each of the executives about previous statements given regarding each company’s commitment to deliver doses.

Pfizer, which co-developed the first COVID-19 vaccine authorized for use in the U.S., has promised to supply the U.S. with 300 million doses by July. As of last week, it had provided 40 million doses, DeGette said.

DeGette asked John Young, Pfizer’s chief business officer, if he felt that Pfizer would be able to meet the July deadline given those circumstances.

“We did initially experience some problems with the initial ramp up of our vaccine,” Young said. “We’ve been in the process of developing a manufacturing process for a vaccine product that we've never made before. We particularly saw some rate-limiting steps with raw materials, but we anticipate that we will be on track to deliver those 300 million doses before the end of July.”

Moderna, which also agreed to provide the federal government with 300 million doses by the end of July, has provided 45 million doses since its vaccine was also authorized in December, DeGette said.

In the last week, however, the company has delivered 9 million doses, which Moderna President Stephen Hoge, MD, said puts the company on track to deliver approximately 40 million to 50 million doses per month and ensure the delivery of 300 million doses by the end of July.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are given in two doses. Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot vaccine, which is up for consideration by the FDA this week, could change the vaccine landscape in the U.S., experts have said. Johnson & Johnson Vice President of U.S. Medical Affairs Richard Nettles, MD, said the company is still on track to provide 100 million doses by the end of June.

According to DeGette, a Johnson & Johnson board member said that could be achieved even earlier, maybe by the end of April.

Ruud Dobber, PhD, who leads AstraZeneca’s biopharmaceuticals business unit, said the company is prepared to be able to deliver 30 million doses of its two-shot vaccine immediately upon emergency use authorization in the U.S., which he said he expects to come sometime in April, and up to 50 million by the end of that month.

“Thereafter, we will have a production roughly of 15 to 25 million doses a month,” Dobber said. “So, [rest] assured, we are on track in order to deliver the commitment of 300 million doses. It will take some time, and as we're working on upscaling our production, it will take some time, but we feel very comfortable that we will deliver the 300 million soon after.”

Novavax, which has a contract with the federal government for 100 million doses of it two-shot vaccine, said recently that it could potentially manufacture 150 million doses monthly by May or June, DeGette said. Depending upon EUA approval, Novavax Executive Vice President John Trizzino said Tuesday that the company is prepared to deliver 100 million doses by the end of June.

Currently, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is the only COVID-19 shot authorized for anyone aged younger than 18 years — you can receive it if you are 16 or older — but manufacturers have begun to ramp up testing in children.

Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) noted that the pledges made Tuesday would give the U.S. more vaccine doses than it needs, because there are only about 260 million people in the U.S. who are eligible for vaccination.

“While we will probably need additional doses for the following year, because most scientists believe that we'll need [another dose] — it's going to be like the flu, you have to take the vaccine fairly regularly — we may actually have enough vaccine ... that we’ll have a surplus,” Griffith said.

Hoge said that any surplus of Moderna vaccine could be made available to other countries.

“I truly hope and believe that there will be a surplus if everyone is able to deliver, and equally, I also hope that we can make those doses available to other parts of the world, including the COVAX facility,” Dobber, from AstraZeneca, said. “There's a huge need to vaccinate people also in low- and middle-income countries. So, it's a clear pledge to the U.S. government as well as to the other companies here today, in order to make sure that those people are getting vaccinated sooner than later.”