Astra Stockpiles Vaccine That Could Speed Up Biden Timeline
(Bloomberg) — AstraZeneca Plc has begun stockpiling its Covid-19 vaccine for use in the U.S., providing a potential supply boost that could speed up President Joe Biden’s inoculation timetable, should the company win regulatory authorization.
A company executive said this week it has begun production and expects to have 30 million doses ready for U.S. distribution, once it’s approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. AstraZeneca hasn’t yet applied to the FDA and hasn’t said when it will, but the U.K.-based company expects to produce 15 to 25 million doses per month for the U.S. after that.
If the FDA gives the green light, “we are expecting to start with 30 million,” Ruud Dobber, AstraZeneca’s executive vice president and president of its biopharmaceuticals unit, told CNBC this week. “We’re already producing at high speed as we speak, so we feel comfortable.”
The company is “on track” to eventually deliver a total of 300 million doses to the U.S., he said.
Meanwhile, Biden administration officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they’re aware the stockpile is accumulating but declined to say how big it is.
Biden announced this week that the U.S. would receive enough doses for nearly 300 million people, sufficient for every American adult, by the end of May, a figure that includes the three authorized U.S. vaccines: from the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE partnership, Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson.