Pfizer Inc’s shipment of COVID-19 vaccine to Mexico this week includes doses made in its U.S. plant, the first of what are expected to be ongoing exports of its shots from the United States, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters on Thursday. The vaccine shipment, produced at Pfizer’s Kalamazoo, Michigan plant, marks the first time the drugmaker has delivered abroad from U.S facilities after a Trump-era restriction on dose exports expired at the end of March, the source said.
The U.S. government has been under mounting pressure in recent weeks to provide surplus vaccines to other nations desperately in need as it makes swift progress vaccinating its own residents. Many countries where the virus is still rampant are struggling to acquire vaccine supplies to help tame the pandemic.
Wealthy governments have been trying to stock up on COVID-19 shots from Pfizer and Moderna Inc because of their extremely high efficacy and after safety concerns and production problems temporarily sidelined vaccines from AstraZeneca Plc and Johnson & Johnson.
Pfizer has shipped more than 10 million doses to Mexico so far, becoming its largest supplier of COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer and German partner BioNTech SE have been supplying other countries with doses from its main European production plant in Belgium.
Mexico’s health ministry said it is receiving 2 million doses from Pfizer this week. It has received more than a million doses from Belgium since Wednesday and expects around another million this week. Reuters could not confirm if all the remaining Pfizer doses would come from Michigan.