Pfizer issued a statement on Thursday to deny claims that it had problems producing COVID-19.
It came after officials in more than a dozen states complained that they were receiving fewer doses than promised, and a Trump official claimed there were “production challenges.”
In its statement, Pfizer said it “has no production problems” and, in fact, has millions of doses stored in a warehouse, awaiting government orders on their destination.
Two anonymous Trump officials told the Associated Press that the doses were intentionally stored to ensure that people who received the first blow could get the second.
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Pfizer said on Thursday that millions of COVID-19 vaccines were stored because the US government had not yet given them directions on where to send them.
The statement came a day after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar suggested at a news conference that the drug company had “manufacturing challenges,” The Hill reported.
Governors and health officials in more than a dozen states also complained of getting fewer doses than expected, according to the Associated Press.
Illinois, Washington, California, Georgia, Hawaii and Nevada get about half the doses they expected, according to AP and NBC News.
Pfizer said Thursday statement that the company “has no production problems with our COVID-19 vaccine” and that “no shipments containing the vaccine are suspended or delayed”.
“This week we successfully transported all the 2.9 million doses that the US Government has asked us to deliver to the locations specified by them,” the statement added.
“We still have millions of doses in our warehouse, but so far we have not received shipping instructions for additional doses.”
Two senior Trump administration officials who spoke anonymously with the Associated Press on Thursday said the doses were intentionally held at the Pfizer production plant in Michigan.
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It had always been planned to distribute only 2.9 million of the 6.4 million doses produced in a first wave, officials said.
Another 2.9 million are in reserve to ensure that people who received the first part of the two-shot vaccine will be able to get the second dose they need, they said.
Another 500,000, according to officials, were held to the side in case of unforeseen problems.
Anonymous officials blamed state officials’ complaints for a misunderstanding and said the full allocation would be reached.
They said the government had changed the vaccine delivery schedule so that states would not receive the entire allocation at once, at the request of governors, who hoped that distributed deliveries would be easier to manage.
“They will receive the weekly allowance, it will simply not come to them one day,” an AP official said.
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