BioNTech-Pfizer has postponed a shipment of its coronavirus vaccine to Malta, citing logistical problems surrounding temperature storage as the issue.
The delay affects eight European countries, including Spain and Malta, and comes just one day after the EU began its mass COVID-19 immunisation campaign.
The news of the delay was first reported by Spanish authorities who said they received a message from Pfizer’s manufacturing plant in Belgium saying that the delivery would be delayed by a day due to “a problem in the loading and shipping process related to temperature control”.
Malta received its first batch of vaccines, a consignment of 10,000 doses last Saturday, and was meant to receive its second batch yesterday.
However, it appears that the second consignment will be arriving today.
The country began kickstarted its vaccination programme on Sunday with a nurse, Rachel Grech, being the first person in Malta to receive the jab.
The BioNTech-Pfizer vaccine is the first to be approved by the EU. However, logistical questions cropped up following revelations that it had to be stored in -70°C conditions for it to remain effective.
“Due to a minor logistical issue, we have rescheduled a limited number of our deliveries. The logistical matter has been resolved and those delivered are now being dispatched,” Pfizer told EuroNews.
Malta is set to receive 1.6 million doses of potential vaccine from BioNTech-Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca, the three most advanced vaccine candidates.
Healthcare workers, elderly care home staff and residents, mental care home staff and residents and everyone over 85 will be the first to receive the vaccine in January. The second batch will include everyone over 80 and all other front-liners and the third batch will include everyone suffering from chronic illnesses, everyone over 70 and school and childcare centre workers.
What do you make of this delay?