American pharma giant Pfizer’s CEO Albert Bourla has assured that the world will have enough vaccines by next year. He said life in developed countries would return to normal by the end of 2021. As for the rest of the world, it will be back to business as usual by 2022 end, he said.
During an interview at the CNBC Evolve Global Summit, Bourla said the developed world will have sufficient vaccines by the end of 2021 while the world will have enough volumes by the end of 2022.
Pfizer has contracts with more than 120 countries around the world.
As of June 16, there were 176,303,596 (176.30 million) confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 3,820,026 (3.82 million) deaths, as reported on the website of World Health Organization (WHO). As of June 14, a total of 2,310,082,345 (2.31 billion) vaccine doses have been administered.
COVID-19 vaccine maker Pfizer and German partner BioNTech reached the milestone of manufacturing one billion (100 crore) doses of their mRNA vaccine in the week of June 7-12, Bourla told CNBC.
The two companies expect to produce up to three billion doses this year, Bourla said. Pfizer and BioNTech have pledged to provide two billion doses of the vaccine to low- and middle-income countries. They aim to produce seven billion doses by 2022 end.
The Pfizer vaccine, one of the three authorised for use in the United States (the others being Moderna’s vaccine and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen), has played a key role in driving down the number of new infections and hospitalisations across the country.
The US crossed 600,000 COVID-19 linked fatalities as of June 16, according to Reuters (600,061 deaths) while a Johns Hopkins University tracker placed the death toll at 600,272. However, it took around four months for the death toll to rise from five lakh to six lakh.
Many countries across the world are urging the US to donate leftover shots. The US has said it will allocate the vaccine doses to 92 low- and lower-middle-income countries.
The US has committed to donating 80 million (eight crore) COVID shots from four drugmakers. It plans to allocate majority of the vaccines through COVAX, the WHO-backed global vaccine sharing programme.
Bourla said he expects more vaccines to go to poorer countries in the second half of 2021 as developed nations tie up vaccinating their populations. The company is also preparing to manufacture booster shots and another shot to tackle variants in the next 100 days.
Bourla said Pfizer is also working on drugs for those who get infected. The company’s experimental oral drug to treat COVID-19 at the first sign of illness could be available by the end of the year.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)