Pharmaceutical industry: Steep rise in Covid-19 vaccine shipments

Geneva, Feb 23, (dpa/GNA) - The global delivery of Covid-19 vaccines is increasing weekly, and at a fast rate, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers (IFPMA) reported on Tuesday in Geneva.

The head of the industry group, Thomas Cueni, rejected criticism that producers have been supplying rich countries rather than the UN-led Covax initiative, which seeks to secure shots for developing and emerging economies.

Pfizer/BioNTech topped the list of most-delivered vaccines, with around 82 million dollars last week, 4 per cent more than the previous week.

Chinese producer Sinovac increased weekly shipments by 46 per cent to 74.4 million shots. AstraZeneca's figures rose 22 per cent to 55 million, and Moderna added 10 per cent, to reach nearly 50 million.

Supplies by China's Sinopharm nearly tripled to 30 million doses. In contrast, weekly deliveries of Russia's Sputnik V vaccine remained at 8.3 million.

Cueni said countries that bear the heaviest burden of Covid-19 disease are getting the biggest shipments.

More than a quarter of the global supply has gone to the United States, followed by China (14.7 per cent), the European Union (12.6 per cent), Indonesia and Britain (5.8 per cent each), according to the IFPMA.

Cueni denied that poorer countries are unable to secure immunization. The next biggest recipients are India, Brazil, Turkey, Russia, Israel and Morocco.

The industry group chief acknowledged that governments that preordered vaccines early are receiving doses first, while deals with Covax were struck only in December.

Nevertheless, the industry would likely be able to supply more than the 2 billion doses that have been promised to Covax this year.