Global Shortage of Raw Materials Needed for Production of COVID-19 Vaccines

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Largest Vaccine Maker Warns of Delays as U.S. Prioritizes Pfizer

by Chris Kay/Bloomberg

The head of the world’s biggest vaccine maker and the World Health Organization’s chief scientist said manufacturers of coronavirus shots face a global shortage of the raw materials needed to churn out the inoculations.

Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive officer of the Serum Institute of India Ltd. — which is licensed to produce hundreds of millions of Covid-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca Plc and Novavax Inc. — told a World Bank panel on Thursday that a U.S. law blocking the export of certain key items, including bags and filters, will likely cause serious bottlenecks. Soumya Swaminathan from the WHO added that there were shortfalls of vials, glass, plastic and stoppers required by those companies.

“The Novavax vaccine, which we’re a major manufacturer for, needs these items from the U.S.,” Poonawalla said. “If we’re talking about building capacity all over the world, the sharing of these critical raw materials is going to become a critical limiting factor — nobody has been able to address this so far.”

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