Pfizer delays delivery of new batch of Covid vaccine to Spain

Health minister expects around 70 per cent of country's population to be immunised by end of summer

Inti Landauro
Monday 28 December 2020 12:45 GMT
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Doctor Elke Obst holds a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19, coronavirus vaccine (Photo by FABRIZIO BENSCH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Doctor Elke Obst holds a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19, coronavirus vaccine (Photo by FABRIZIO BENSCH/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Pfizer has postponed the delivery of a new batch of the coronavirus vaccine to Spain by one day to Tuesday due to a logistics hurdle, Health Minister Salvador Illa said.

The company suffered an incident related to the control of temperature in the process of loading and sending out the vaccines, the minister said, adding the incident is now solved.

"They (vaccines) will be available tomorrow first thing in the morning in vaccination points," Mr Illa said in an interview to Cadena SER radio station. Spain started vaccinating people on Sunday.

He said he expected around 70 per cent of the country's population to be immunised by the end of the summer.

The delay in Spain comes after the vaccination campaign in Germany faced delays in several cities after temperature trackers showed that about 1,000 vaccine doses made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech may have not been kept cold enough during shipment.

In a presentation this month, BioNTech had said that once removed from the freezer, the vaccine could be stored for up to five days at 2-8C and for up to two hours at temperatures up to 30C, prior to use.

The cool boxes designed by Pfizer are fitted with GPS trackers so the companies can deal with potential storage issues en route.

The vaccine, which uses new so-called mRNA technology, must be stored at ultra-low temperatures of about -70C before being shipped to distribution centres in specially designed cool boxes filled with dry ice.

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