PFIZER has postponed the delivery of new batches of its coronavirus vaccine to eight European nations including Spain.
The shipment of 350,000 doses scheduled for this Monday to Spain has been delayed due to a ‘problem in the loading and shipment process’ at its plant in Belgium.
“Due to a minor logistical incident, we have rescheduled a minimum number of our shipments. The incident has now been resolved and these deliveries are being distributed. No incident related to the manufacture of the vaccine has been reported,” said a spokesperson for the pharma giant.
The Spanish branch of Pfizer did not specify which European nations aside from Spain were affected.
According to Health Minister Salvador Illa, the loading problem was linked to the ‘control of the temperature’ of the shipments.
The vaccine must be stored at ultra-low temperatures of about -70C before being shipped to distribution centres in specially designed cool boxes filled with dry ice.
Once out of ultra-low temperature storage, the vaccine must be kept at 2C to 8C to remain effective for up to five days.
The doses are expected to arrive in Spain today.
This incident comes after the immunisation campaign in Germany was delayed in several cities after temperature sensors showed that about 1,000 doses might not have been kept cold enough during shipment from German distribution centres to vaccination centres.
Over the next 12 weeks, Spain is scheduled to receive 4,591,275 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine, which will immunise 2,295,638 people, covering the first stage of the COVID-19 vaccination campaign.
According to Illa, the end of the pandemic will only come ‘when we have acquired a sufficient percentage of immunity, which is set at around 70%.’
“This will be possible around the end of the summer,” he said.