Pfizer has committed its science and resources at scale to help address the COVID-19 pandemic – and continues to do so to this day.
We remain fully focused on getting high-quality vaccines and treatments to patients as quickly as possible and to working with governments and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) around the world to help end this pandemic.
We recognise and are concerned by the complex evolution of the pandemic and how it continues to have severe impacts on individuals, families and communities. We continue to regularly evaluate the risks COVID-19 poses to people, particularly in the most vulnerable geographies, and among the most vulnerable groups of society, and adapt our response.
Pfizer's Commitment to Equitable Access
Pfizer is firmly committed to equitable and affordable access to the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to help bring an end to the pandemic for everyone, everywhere.
As of April 3, 2022, nearly 3.3 billion Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines have been shipped to 179 countries in every region of the world.
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Last updated 21st April 2022
As explained by our CEO in an open letter published May 7, 2021, when we developed our tiered vaccine pricing policy at the beginning of our vaccine development programme in 2020, we reached out to countries at all income levels around the world to secure orders to prepare our supply allocations. Early on, we saw many middle- and low-income countries place orders with other vaccine makers either because of the uncertainty of the mRNA technology at that time and/or challenges complying with the cold chain requirements. Many of these countries have since come back to us, and we have worked rapidly to establish agreements and allocate doses.
We decided to offer our vaccine through tiered pricing early in our development programme. This mechanism was designed to help governments ensure that there is little to no out-of-pocket costs for their populations based on the principles of volume, advanced commitment, equity and affordability. The wealthier nations would have to pay in the range of about the cost of a takeaway meal and would offer it to their citizens for free. The upper-middle-income countries were offered doses at roughly half that price and the low- and lower-middle-income countries were offered doses at a not-for-profit price.
Equity doesn’t mean we give everyone the same. Equity means we give more to those that need more.
For the first time in living memory, humanity requires billions of vaccine doses at the same time, and we are striving to deliver what we can as fast as we can. We’ve worked tirelessly to leverage our extensive expertise to both expand and improve the supply network and storage and handling requirements of the vaccine itself – to meet the needs of our global network.
Supporting Vaccine Access for Low- and Lower-Middle-Income Countries (LMICs)
Holding manufacturers solely accountable on a supply number alone does not give an accurate account of vaccination reality. It is not just vaccines that will bring an end to this pandemic, but vaccinations.
Country readiness is critical in ensuring a nation is able to effectively receive, transport and administer the vaccine doses as they arrive. We have seen challenges in some low- and lower-middle income countries with this readiness, including gaps in cold chain and service delivery, insufficient workforce capacity and issues with demand and vaccine confidence. Distributing these types of products rapidly and at national scale has no precedent in modern public health, and close coordination across all stakeholders is essential for ensuring the success of vaccination campaigns.
We are using our resources to address urgent needs and make sure countries are ready to receive and distribute vaccines. Pfizer’s partnerships are wide-ranging: from our COVAX collaboration on supply chain capability analysis to freezer donation to support cold chain capacity through our UPS partnership. Pfizer has also drawn on its long-term relationship with Zipline, using innovative solutions such as drone-assisted deliveries to ensure vaccines reach hard-to-reach areas.
The Pfizer Foundation has provided $30 million in grants to help meet the needs of front-line healthcare workers during the pandemic - and we are continuing to work with NGOs, UN agencies and governments to explore the need for a targeted vaccine donation programme for refugees and vulnerable populations.
The Role of Intellectual Property
COVID-19 vaccines are complex biologic products, and their manufacturing requires specialised experience, expertise, and equipment. It is not as simple as sharing the “recipe”. Manufacture of the Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine involves the use of over 280 materials which come from 86 suppliers in 19 different countries. If any one of the 280 different components is not provided, we cannot manufacture or release the vaccine.
With only two mRNA vaccines in the market, for the first time ever, there is not an abundance of known and experienced facilities in the world able to perform the critical steps needed to manufacture mRNA vaccines or the inputs to produce those vaccines at a large scale.
There is enormous collaboration already taking place. Manufacturers with the appropriate expertise, technical capabilities, and facilities have entered into partnerships and licensing agreements to speed up the production and distribution of vaccines. To date, Pfizer and BioNTech have eleven operational facilities supporting the COVID-19 vaccine global supply chain as well as more than 20 contract manufacturers who are or will be supporting across four continents including Africa and Latin America.
Pfizer's Commitment Beyond Vaccination
Additionally, we are incredibly proud of our teams who have worked tirelessly to develop and manufacture a COVID-19 oral treatment. During the pandemic, Pfizer will also offer this oral therapy through a tiered pricing approach, pending country authorisation or approval, based on the income level of each country to promote equity of access across the globe. High and upper-middle income countries will pay more than lower income countries.
Pfizer continues to invest to support the manufacturing and distribution of this treatment, including exploring potential contract manufacturing options. We have raised our production projections, with the ability to produce up to 120 million courses of treatment by the end of 2022, pending global demand. We have initiated bilateral outreach to more than 100 countries around the world and entered into agreements with multiple countries.
Additionally, Pfizer has signed a voluntary license agreement with the Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) to help expand access to our oral antiviral, pending country regulatory authorisation or approval, in 95 low- and middle-income countries that account for approximately 53% of the world’s population.
On 22 March 2022, we also announced an agreement with UNICEF to supply up to 4 million treatment courses of the treatment to 95 low- and middle-income countries, pending authorisation or approval. This includes all low- and lower-middle-income countries and some upper-middle-income countries in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as countries that have transitioned from lower-middle to upper-middle-income status in the last five years, also accounting for approximately 53% of the world’s population.
The challenge for Pfizer and BioNTech when the pandemic began was not just to conceptualise and develop a vaccine. We also had to work out how to manufacture and ship hundreds of millions of doses. This would normally take about five years and no mRNA vaccine had ever been authorised or manufactured to scale. However, we had over 172 years of R&D experience to draw on and are one of the biggest suppliers of sterile injectables (medicines and vaccines) in the world.
The global demand for COVID-19 vaccine doses is unlike anything we've ever seen before, and we remain committed to playing our part to address this unprecedented healthcare challenge. Pfizer has self-funded more than $2 billion at risk and received no public funding to run clinical development and manufacturing processes in parallel and at scale. We’ve worked tirelessly to leverage our extensive expertise to both expand and improve the supply network and storage and handling requirements of the vaccine itself to meet the needs of our global network.
We are incredibly proud of the tireless effort of all our colleagues and partners around the world who were able to produce over 3 billion doses of the vaccine – more than double our original 1.3 billion-dose estimate - in 2021. In 2022, Pfizer expects to manufacture 4 billion doses. To put that into context, Pfizer is one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers and prior to the pandemic, Pfizer’s annual output for all vaccines was 200 million doses per year. This is the biggest scale up in Pfizer’s history, an accomplishment that continues to make us all immensely proud.
PP-UNP-GBR-0621 / April 2022