- Pfizer is adding suppliers and expanding its manufacturing capacity to meet its goal of making 2 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021, CEO Albert Bourla said on the company's earnings call last week.
- Part of Pfizer's capacity expansion could rely on contract manufacturers, according to slides the company presented during the call.
- The company plans to distribute 200 million doses within the U.S. by the end of May and is working with the U.S. government on shipping schedules, the company said.
After less than a month in office, President Joe Biden signed an executive order to use the Defense Production Act to "fill supply shortfalls" in 12 product categories facing shortages.
Last week, Tim Manning, supply coordinator for the COVID-19 Response Team, outlined how the administration planned to use the DPA.
"Our first action gets Pfizer more equipment and supplies that are enabling them to ramp up production and deliver more vaccines," Manning said in a press briefing.
Manning said the federal government has increased the vaccine supply to states by more than 20% since January.
"One of the factors constraining increased manufacturing of vaccines is limited equipment and ingredients," he said.
The DPA is providing a priority rating to the supplies Pfizer needs to make the vaccines, meaning it gets first access to resources. The government expanded the priority ratings for Pfizer last week to include filling pumps and tangential flow filtration skid units, which Manning called "critical components" for Pfizer to make the vaccine.
The federal government is also using the DPA to increase the supply of at-home COVID-19 testing and procuring personal protective equipment.
One area of concern for PPE is gloves, Manning said, noting that the U.S. is almost 100% reliant on overseas suppliers.
"Over the past two weeks, we've pushed forward an effort to expand domestic manufacturing of surgical gloves and I'm pleased to announce we will build plants to make the raw materials ... for surgical gloves here in the United States and we'll help to build factories to make those gloves right here in the U.S. as well," he said. "By the end of the year we'll produce more than 1 billion nitrile gloves per month right here in America."
Manning said he could not yet announce who the federal government is contracting with, but adding that there would be more details in the coming weeks.