And while Pfizer’s vaccines are already flowing to the UK, Canada and the US, it is unclear when they will arrive in other countries. According to an announcement, Mexico could get its first vaccines anytime for the next 12 months.
Clemens Auer, chief negotiator for the European Union, said in an email that his contract with Pfizer for 200 million cans included a “fixed delivery schedule” but that he would withhold the details from the public. “Details don’t really matter,” he said, given the volume of promising vaccines the EU had received.
In Canada, the government has been questioned about its contract with Moderna. The country reached an agreement for 20 million doses in August, with an option for an additional 36 million. The United States announced a deal for up to 500 million cans soon after, and the UK and European Union announced their own deals last month.
When Moderna recently said that its first 20 million would go to the US, Canadian politicians were accused of making their country lose its place. It was not widely known that Moderna had promised the Americans their first doses as a condition of US financial support.
In the Canadian parliament, Erin O’Toole, the Conservative leader, has tabled a motion asking the government to publish deadlines for its orders. Citizens “deserve to know when to expect each type of vaccine”.
Cans can be promised, but production is not guaranteed
Even if other promising candidates like Johnson & Johnson’s get approval soon and put pressure on Pfizer and Moderna, there is no guarantee that the companies can meet their commitments over the next year.
“People think just because we have shown in phase 3 clinical trials that we have safe and effective vaccines that the cones will soon be fully turned on,” said Dr. Richard Hatchett, Head of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparation of the global nonprofits leading the Covax program with WHO, “The challenges in scaling production are significant and fraught with problems.”