Officials in multiple states said they were alerted late Wednesday that their second shipments of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine had been drastically cut for next week, sparking widespread confusion and conflicting statements from Pfizer and federal officials about who was at fault.
The reduction prompted concern in health departments across the country about whether Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s vaccine accelerator program, could distribute doses quickly enough to meet the target of delivering first shots to 20 million people by year’s end.
Several governors have reported that half as many Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine shots as expected are going to be delivered in the next few weeks and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has suggested that Pfizer is having manufacturing problems.
The federal Department of Health and Human Services, however, released a statement Thursday denying the number of doses are being reduced.
“Reports that jurisdictions’ allocations are being reduced are incorrect,” an HHS spokesperson said in a statement. “As was done with the initial shipments of Pfizer vaccine, jurisdictions will receive vaccine at different sites over several days.”
The Trump administration suggested that Pfizer experienced production issues, which will cause states to receive less vaccines than initially promised. But, Pfizer issued a statement on Thursday stating they did not have any production issues and “no shipments containing the vaccine are on hold or delayed.”
“This week, we successfully shipped all 2.9 million doses that we were asked to ship by the U.S. Government to the locations specified by them,” an official Pfizer statement read. “We have millions more doses sitting in our warehouse but, as of now, we have not received any shipment instructions for additional doses.”