From Latin America to the Middle East, dozens of governments are turning to the shot. Australia is now offering the vaccine, after shifting away from competitors. Turkey, the U.K. and Chile are providing the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to people who took other shots.
Demand rose so high in Argentina that the country rewrote a new vaccine-purchasing law so it could reach a deal with Pfizer.
“Everyone wants to get the best vaccine,’’ said Wanderson de Oliveira, an epidemiologist and former senior official with Brazil’s Ministry of Health, which has increased use of the Pfizer-BioNTech shot this year while shifting away from Chinese-made jabs.
“Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine presents superior results in relation to other vaccines,” he said.
Countries have purchased 3.5 billion doses of Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine, about 1 billion more doses than they bought from
PLC, the world’s second biggest supplier, according to Duke Global Health Innovation Center.
Pfizer said it has shipped more than 1.6 billion doses so far to more than 130 countries.
Driving the popularity, government officials and industry analysts said, is the vaccine’s high effectiveness, including against the highly contagious Delta variant, without the blood-clotting concerns that have hurt uptake of AstraZeneca and
Also, the protection provided by the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doesn’t appear to wane over time as much as Chinese vaccines, according to studies and government officials, and supplies haven’t been limited as with Russia’s Sputnik V shot.
Plenty of demand still exists for the other vaccines, according to the officials and analysts. Many low- and middle-income countries in particular are likely to rely on rivals, analysts said, because Pfizer simply can’t produce for the entire world and competitors can be stored easier and may be less expensive.
Pfizer has increased prices in some countries, as the vaccine’s popularity has risen. An Israeli health ministry official in December told public broadcaster Kan that it paid $62 a dose, though the government hasn’t officially confirmed any figure. That is a much higher price than most countries have been paying. Pfizer raised prices for the European Union to $23 per dose, up from $18.
Under a contract with Brazil in May, Pfizer offered doses at $12 each, according to Brazilian media reports. That was higher than the $10-per-dose offer from a March contract, according to a copy of the contract reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.
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