Story at a glance

  • A new vaccine production site in Marburg, Germany, is set to become operational at the end of February and would increase capacity by up to 750 million doses annually.
  • BioNTech said that 32.9 million doses of the vaccine had been shipped as of Sunday.
  • The promise for a production increase comes as the U.S. is racing to distribute as many vaccine doses as possible.

BioNTech, the German company that developed the first COVID-19 vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration in a partnership with Pfizer, says it is aiming to produce 2 billion doses of the vaccine this year, Reuters reports. 

The biotechnology firm’s previous goal was to distribute 1.3 billion doses over the course of 2021. But with more manufacturing sites coming online and a label change that will allow doctors to extract six doses instead of five from each vaccine vial, BioNTech has upped its vaccine delivery target for this year. 


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“We now believe that we can potentially deliver approximately 2 billion doses in total by the end of 2021, which incorporates the updated six-dose label,” BioNTech said Monday, according to Reuters. 

The increase in doses is made possible through special syringes called low dead space syringes that help avoid wasting any vaccine. The specially designed syringes have less space between the needle and the plunger. 

Reuters reports a new vaccine production site in Marburg, Germany, is set to become operational at the end of February and would increase capacity by up to 750 million doses annually. Additional capacity from contractors that supply ingredients and fill the vials with the finished substance will also help increase vaccine production. 

BioNTech said that 32.9 million doses of the vaccine had been shipped as of Sunday, and 50 million doses had been manufactured by the end of last year. A spokesperson told Reuters deliveries of the vaccine, which has to be stored in extremely cold temperatures, had been delayed because some countries weren’t yet ready to receive them. 

The promise for a production increase comes as the U.S. is racing to distribute as many vaccine doses as possible. 

As of Jan. 11, more than 25 million doses of vaccine have been distributed in the U.S. with just more than 8.9 million people receiving the first shot of the two-dose vaccine, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


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Published on Jan 11, 2021