Vaccine production

The global need for the COVID-19 vaccine is estimated to be about 12-15 billion doses (estimate made by IFPMA, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations).

Besides the huge need, another challenge is getting the vaccines distributed all over the world at record speed.

However, the vaccine production cannot be jump-started because vaccine safety and quality must be ensured at every step of the production. 

Vaccine production is not comparable to, for example, the manufacture of masks. It is also far more demanding than pressing chemical ingredient materials into tablet form. Authorities also closely supervise all medicine and vaccine production. Therefore, it took some time to launch production.  

There are no manufacturing plants in the world standing idle, just waiting to get started. It has taken a lot of work to transform the existing production plants to be suitable for COVID-19 vaccine production. Totally new production plants have also been set up as quickly as possible.

Normally, mass production starts only once the marketing authorisation has been obtained. In the present situation, companies have started production proactively. 

A significant share of the vaccines is produced in Europe. Very often, both vaccine research and production are concentrated in same areas since both require very particular competences. 

Further reading

Page published 28.4.2021
Page edited 28.4.2021