The vaccines used to combat the coronaviral pandemic, including the vaccines that are in clinical trials now, could face a shortage of the needed vaccines, according to two leading companies, which said Friday they are exploring legal options to address the problem.
“We are exploring the options, but we are not ruling anything out,” Dr. Thomas Beresford, chief executive of Pfizer, the world’s largest drugmaker, told reporters.
“I don’t want to say it’s impossible.
But it’s not our objective.”
The Food and Drugs Administration last week approved a batch of the second batch of Pfizers vaccines for use in adults and children, including in the United States.
The first batch of vaccines were approved for use only in adults.
But Beresfords lawyers said Friday that they will now seek to have the first batch used in children, who are the primary target for the first outbreak.
“I don, frankly, think that this would be a big deal.
We are certainly not in the business of doing this.
But we do think that we need to act fast, and we think that the sooner we can do that, the better,” he said.
The FDA is investigating a number of cases of people who have come down with the virus and have died of COVID-19, and has asked the industry to respond.
But Beresforstedt said that it’s likely that the FDA would take some time to figure out what the right approach is.
“Our goal is to do the right thing and we are going to do it, and it’s going to be a process that we are looking forward to,” he added.
The company is also looking into whether it needs to get more vaccines for the children, but Beresfdon’t have an exact number on that at this time.
He said he believes there’s a risk of shortages if there are a lot of people getting sick, and that the company will try to make sure that it doesn’t happen.
The first batch is being made at the Pfizer facilities in Eastport, Connecticut, and Beresfelt said the company is in the process of moving them from there.
“They’re making them in Easton, and they’re making it in Westport, so we are moving the batch to Westport as well,” he told reporters Friday.
“The company’s looking at whether they should make more batches, but that’s an unknown right now.”
The FDA said in its latest review that there was insufficient information about the potential for vaccine shortages, and urged companies to review the FDA’s guidelines.
Beresfeldt said he had received no indication from the FDA that the companies were planning to move out of Eastport and the other facilities where they make vaccines.
“This is all about the future,” Beresfford said.
“It’s not about the past.
We’re going to get a better idea as we go forward.
We want to ensure that this is something that we can get right, and as we do that we will have to make decisions.”
Bresford added that he thinks the company has done a good job of communicating its vaccine plans to the public, and said he’s confident that the vaccines will be effective.
“The fact is, this is a critical issue that we have to address,” he concluded.
“We are in a situation where we have a situation in the world that’s really very dangerous, and the situation we have right now is that we’ve got an extremely, extremely dangerous virus that’s out there.”
The second batch, which is being produced at the Bristol-Myers Squibb facility in West Virginia, is expected to be ready in the next couple of weeks.