FRANKFURT (Reuters) – European countries should use all available vaccine doses provided by biotech firm BioNTech and its partner Pfizer because there will be enough for the requisite second booster shot due to a planned production ramp-up, BioNTech’s largest investor said.
Some countries were believed to be withholding some vaccines for fear of a shortage for the required second dose, meant to be administered three weeks after the first vaccination.
Pfizer said last week it would have to reduce deliveries of the shots to Europe until early February in order to upgrade production capacity for a later output boost.
Speaking in an interview with monthly Manager Magazin, the managing director of the investment vehicle of biotech investors Thomas and Andreas Struengmann, who hold about half the shares in BioNTech, said Denmark was taking the delivery cuts in its stride and was not withholding any volumes for the second booster dose of the two-shot regimen.
“Denmark, for example, is being a role model,” said Helmut Jeggle, head of the Struengmann brothers’ holding company Athos, told the magazine, when asked why Europe was falling behind in its vaccination campaign.
He said in parts of Germany, half of the apportioned vaccine doses were stored to reserve a booster shot for every recipient of the first shot within the prescribed three-week interval.
“That degree of stock keeping is not necessary because we will do everything to really deliver the committed volumes in the first quarter, irrespective of some hiccups at the Belgian site in Puurs for one or two week,” Jeggle was quoted as saying.
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(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Bernadette Baum)