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Pfizer says no COVID-19 vaccine production problems or shipment delays

Pfizer on Thursday said none of its coronavirus vaccine shipments are delayed or on hold, and there are no problems with its production.

In a statement, the drugmaker said that this week it "successfully shipped all 2.9 million doses that we were asked to ship by the U.S. Government to the locations specified by them."

In addition, Pfizer said "we have millions more doses sitting in our warehouse but, as of now, we have not received any shipment instructions for additional doses."

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Federal health officials are sending states only the first of the necessary two doses, with a goal of injecting 20 million people with the first of two doses by the end of the year, and at least 50 million more with the first dose by January.

The Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed has allocated about 2 million doses to states that will be sent out at the beginning of next week. The government has also set aside 500,000 doses in reserve, in case of emergency.

Pfizer's statement comes after Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar told reporters Wednesday the company had experienced "manufacturing challenges," and the administration was working to get more visibility into Pfizer's manufacturing processes.

Azar said that because Pfizer did not accept federal funding from Operation Warp Speed to help with the manufacturing and development of its vaccine, the government doesn't have as much information about the company's manufacturing capabilities and supply issues. 

"Part of our ongoing discussions is to remediate that and get better visibility into what they're doing, what challenges they're facing, because they've made significant commitments to us and others," Azar said, noting Pfizer has only been able to make half of what it thought it would be able to produce this year.

On Thursday, Pfizer said it has “continuously shared” information in weekly meetings with HHS and Operation Warp Speed through “every aspect of our production and distribution capabilities.”

Pfizer said it is confident it can deliver 50 million doses globally this year and up to 1.3 billion doses next year.