FDA approval may be weeks away. Maybe even after the November general election.  But pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is already turning out doses of it’s highly anticipated COVID-19 vaccine. The website Daily Mail reports Pfizer has already turned out hundreds of thousands of doses of the vaccine at its plant in Belgium. They’re being stored in case the remaining human trials go well and regulators in the US and Europe give a green light.

Pfizer’s manufacturing plant in Portage played a big role in the development of the vaccine but so far production is being limited to the Belgian site. Pfizer is headquartered in Manhattan. The company went through several hands going back to its roots as the Upjohn Company in Kalamazoo. The company reached a massive $2 billion deal with the U.S. government earlier this year, along with its joint venture partner in the vaccine, BioNTech. Pfizer is planning to produce as many as 100 million doses of the vaccine this year. Next year – that skyrockets to 1.3 billion doses. It is a two-dose vaccine. That makes production, distribution, and keeping track of jabs all the more important.

Pfizer’s United Kingdom chief executive told the Mail that watching the first vaccine holding vial roll off the assembly line brought a smile to his face. About 44,000 people are involved in the human clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine. Pfizer earlier announced it would be seeking an emergency approval for the vaccine sometime next month.  That is backtracking some from even earlier indications that the company might be ready to ask for that approval from the US FDA as early as this month. All indications are the Pfizer manufacturing plant in Portage will be involved in production once it moves into high gear.

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