Europe – Increase in vaccine manufacturing capacity and supply for COVID-19 vaccines from AstraZeneca, BioNTech/Pfizer and Moderna

EMA’s human medicines committee (CHMP) has adopted several important recommendations that will increase manufacturing capacity and supply of COVID-19 vaccines in the EU.

New manufacturing site for AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

A new manufacturing site has been approved for the production of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine active substance. The Halix site is located in Leiden, the Netherlands, and will bring the total number of manufacturing sites licensed for the production of the active substance of the vaccine to four.

New manufacturing site and more flexible storage conditions for BioNTech/Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

A new site has also been approved for the production of Comirnaty, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by BioNTech and Pfizer. The facility, which is in the German city of Marburg, will produce both active substance and the finished product. There are currently three active substance manufacturing sites supplying the EU included in the marketing authorisation.

In addition to the new manufacturing facility for this vaccine, the CHMP has also given a positive opinion to allow transportation and storage of vials of this vaccine at temperatures between -25 to -15˚C (i.e. the temperature of standard pharmaceutical freezers) for a one-off period of two weeks. This is an alternative to the long-term storage of the vials at a temperature between -90 to -60˚C in special freezers. It is expected to facilitate the rapid roll-out and distribution of the vaccine in the EU by reducing the need for ultra-low temperature cold storage conditions throughout the supply chain…