Pfizer disputes COVID-19 vaccine problems, says millions of doses are sitting in warehouse

White House promises 6M doses of coronavirus vaccine will be administered next week

White House deputy press secretary and deputy communications director Brian Morgenstern discusses the rollout of Operation Warp Speed, a stimulus deal and national security.

Pfizer said it currently has millions of doses awaiting shipping instructions, defending the rollout of its COVID-19 vaccine Thursday, after Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said there have been hiccups.

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“Pfizer is not having any production issues with our COVID-19 vaccine, and no shipments containing the vaccine are on hold or delayed," the company said in a statement Thursday.

"We have millions more doses sitting in our warehouse but, as of now, we have not received any shipment instructions for additional doses."

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Azar said there have been some problems with the vaccine's rollout.

"It’s been going smoothly so far, there are going to be hiccups though," Azar told CNBC Thursday. "Gen. [Gustave] Perna talked about how we had a couple of shipments where there was an excursion of temperature that went actually below the cold limit to minus 92."

Pfizer already has shipped 2.9 million doses of its vaccine and has an agreement with the U.S.government to ship 100 million doses through March 31.

Azar told reporters Wednesday that Pfizer's inability to commit to a firm delivery date for more vaccines is a "core issue."

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Azar also claimed that Pfizer hasn't been completely transparent with their manufacturing.

“We contract, give them a guaranteed purchase, that allows them to make capital investments, have a predictable purchaser, but we don’t have complete visibility into their manufacturing because they have kept that a bit more arm’s length," Azar told CNBC Thursday. "Now I'd like to see that change. I'd like to have more visibility into that."

Pfizer also disputed this Thursday, saying that they have shared all the information requested of them.

"We have continuously shared with Operation Warp Speed (OWS) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services through weekly meetings every aspect of our production and distribution capabilities," Pfizer said Thursday. "They have visited our facilities, walked the production lines and been updated on our production planning as information has become available."

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Health care workers were the first Americans to start getting the COVID-19 vaccine this week as deaths from the disease surpassed 300,000.

As of Thursday, the United States has 16,964,180 confirmed cases and 307,429 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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