By Peter Loftus and Paul Vieira
Moderna Inc. expects a shortfall in Covid-19 vaccine doses it
will deliver to countries outside the U.S., including Canada and
the U.K., citing issues with its European supply chain.
The Cambridge, Mass., company said Friday the dose shortfall
affects expected deliveries for the second quarter in a number of
countries but didn't specify others beyond Canada and the U.K. The
manufacturing problems won't affect U.S. supplies.
"The trajectory of vaccine manufacturing ramp-up is not linear,
and despite best efforts, there is a shortfall in previously
estimated doses from the European supply chain," the company said
in a statement. "Vaccine manufacturing is a highly complex process,
and a number of elements, including human and material resources,
have factored into this volatility."
The shortfall marks the latest setback for efforts to ramp up
manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines. Moderna and Pfizer Inc. were
initially able to make only limited quantities while they built
manufacturing capabilities. In March, AstraZeneca PLC warned
European officials its output was falling short of plans. Also that
month, Merck & Co. agreed to help Johnson & Johnson make
more of its vaccine.
Canadian Procurement Minister Anita Anand said in a statement
distributed by her office that the next expected shipment from
Moderna scheduled for the end of April would be cut in half, to
Canada had been anticipating 12.3 million doses from Moderna
during the three-month period ending June 30. Ms. Anand said she
expects a reduction in the second-quarter supply by as much as
"We are disappointed," Ms. Anand said. "Our government will
continue to press Moderna to fulfill its commitments." Canada said
Moderna advised officials the cutback is due to a
slower-than-anticipated ramp-up of production capacity, and that
other countries would be affected.
The timing of the Moderna cutback couldn't be worse for Canada,
which has witnessed a sharp rise in Covid-19 infections -- so much
so that the country's seven-day average of new, confirmed Covid-19
cases per million has exceeded the U.S. level for six days in a
row. Furthermore, regional authorities across the country have
canceled vaccination appointments, citing a lack of supply.
Based on the most recent Canadian government data, Moderna's
vaccine accounts for 22% of the 12 million doses distributed across
the country. Pfizer, in partnership with BioNTech SE, is the
largest Covid-19 supplier to Canada, accounting for roughly 60% of
Canada said Friday it struck another deal with Pfizer to acquire
an additional 8 million doses, which it said would help offset
cutbacks from Moderna. Moderna's and Pfizer's vaccines are given in
two doses, three or four weeks apart.
"We are concerned about the delays and production challenges
around Moderna," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday
at a press conference.
The U.K. government said it always knew vaccine supplies would
fluctuate, but its vaccination campaign is on track to meet the
target of offering a jab to all adults by the end of July. "Our
vaccination programme continues to make phenomenal progress -- with
over 41 million vaccines administered so far," a government health
Moderna has two supply chains for producing its vaccine.The
company manufactures the vaccine for the U.S. at its plant outside
Boston, and its contract manufacturing partner Lonza Ltd. also
makes it at a plant in Portsmouth, N.H. Other partners handle
vial-filling and packaging at U.S. sites.
Moderna has been ramping up its Covid-19 vaccine production for
the U.S. and expects to deliver a total of 300 million doses by the
end of July. So far, it has delivered more than 117 million of
Outside the U.S., Moderna has delivered about 15 million doses
from a separate supply chain, which includes production at Lonza's
plant in Switzerland and partners' facilities elsewhere that handle
vial-filling and packaging.
In addition to the U.K. and Canada, Moderna has signed supply
contracts with the European Union, Japan, South Korea, the
Philippines, Switzerland, Colombia, Israel, Taiwan, Qatar and
The company has said it expects to make 700 million to one
billion doses globally for 2021.
Moderna said Friday that in response to high global demand, it
and its manufacturing partner Lonza are trying to deliver a
sustained supply in the shortest time frame possible.
The company said it is making investments to support production
increases globally, and explore other potential collaboration
--Jason Douglas contributed to this article.
Write to Peter Loftus at email@example.com and Paul Vieira at
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
April 16, 2021 15:22 ET (19:22 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.