vaccine production

COVID-19 vaccine production, to October 31st, 2021

In October both India (up 35% on September) and the European Union (up 34.5%) saw big rises in monthly output, while Chinese production fell back by 40% as that country’s domestic vaccine programme slowed down. The United States remained very much a second-rank producer, with 79.8 million doses against the EU’s 369 million, while the list of third-rank producers swelled with all of Russia, Switzerland, Argentina, Japan, South Korea and Australia now making useful quantities. The global total slipped back from September’s 1.58 billion to 1.43 billion thanks to that Chinese slowdown, but the accumulated total production by end-2021 remains likely to exceed 11.5 billion doses. An increasing number are being used as third, “booster” doses — so far, 350 million, according to Airfinity — but the expanding output of western vaccines means that supply is no longer a major constraint. More vaccines should now start to reach African countries as India is poised to permit exports of AstraZeneca doses produced there, for the first time since March.

Those big rises in Indian production along with more smaller locations coming on stream have propelled AstraZeneca into top place in terms of monthly output, given the big slowdown at Sinopharm and Sinovac. In terms of cumulative production, Sinovac remains the leading manufacturer globally, but AstraZeneca and Pfizer are now close behind. With many countries that used Chinese vaccines for their main rollout now ordering western vaccines for booster shots, those western firms now have a chance to take the lead.

Photo by Louis Reed on Unsplash

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