The United States is significantly reducing the number of doses of Pfizer’s ( PFE.N )/BioNTech ( 22UAy.DE ) COVID-19 vaccine it will buy to donate to poorer countries this year, Pfizer said on Thursday, citing lower demand for vaccinations. in those countries.

Pfizer said it had agreed to cut the number of doses it will supply by the end of the year to 600 million, down from the US government’s commitment of billions of doses a year ago.

The United States will be able to purchase an additional 400 million rounds for the program after this year.

The drugmaker said it would have enough supplies to supply just one billion doses under the U.S. commitment, but “we are seeing reduced demand in some low- and lower-middle-income countries due to administrative barriers and uncertainties regarding vaccines”.

The US Department of Health and Human Services did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The revised terms of the contract were previously reported by Bloomberg.

Pfizer said it has already delivered 400 million doses of the vaccine to 79 countries under a US government contract.

The vaccine doses were donated as part of the COVAX program, run by the World Health Organization and the global vaccine alliance GAVI, which was designed to deliver COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries around the world.

The program initially struggled to acquire enough vaccine to fulfill its mission, but improved manufacturers’ production led to a glut of doses in 2022.

Since June, COVAX has been negotiating with vaccine manufacturers to cut or slow supplies of 400 to 600 million doses of vaccines under its own contracts.

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