The Strategist

Pfizer chief: low-income countries refuse to buy vaccines

05/10/2021 - 03:28

Low- and middle-income countries have opted not to order the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, Bloomberg reported, citing a letter from Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla.

Earlier, the World Health Organisation said that equal access to COVID-19 vaccines globally was failing.

"We have asked all countries to place orders so that we can allocate doses for them. In fact, high-income states have reserved most of the doses," Mr Bourla wrote. 

He said he had also approached middle- and low-income countries to persuade them to reserve doses of the vaccine as supply was limited, but they refused.

He noted that Pfizer and BioNTech were using a tiered pricing model. Middle-income countries have to pay half as much as high-income countries, while low-income countries can buy the drug at cost. 

Pfizer and BioNtech plan to deliver 3 billion doses of the vaccine to more than 116 countries this year, with 450 million doses already delivered to countries. It hopes to deliver more than 1 billion doses to middle- and low-income countries.

Earlier, Mr Bourla did not support US President Joe Biden's proposal to scrap patent protection for coronavirus vaccines. In his view, patents are not a major barrier to increased production of the drugs.