LJUBLJANA, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Pharmaceutical company Novartis has agreed with BioNTech to fill into vials Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine in its unit in Slovenia next year, the Novartis Slovenia unit said on Thursday.
A least 24 million doses of the mRNA-based vaccine will be filled in the unit in Slovenia's capital Ljubljana next year, it said in a statement.
"Under the terms of the new initial agreement, Novartis plans to take bulk mRNA active ingredient from BioNTech and fill this into vials under sterile conditions for shipment back to BioNTech for its distribution," it added.
The filling process will be transferred from Novartis' unit in Switzerland's Stein to Ljubljana in the first half of 2022, the company said.
So far no COVID-19 vaccines have been produced or filled in Slovenia. The country last week recommended priority use of mRNA vaccines, saying vector vaccines should only be used if a person requests it specifically or if a person has contraindications to mRNA vaccines.
Slovenia has been badly hit by COVID-19 and the number of newly confirmed cases has been on the rise over the past month. The country confirmed 1,845 new cases on Wednesday compared to 1,082 cases a week before. So far 52.5 percent of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to the National Institute of Public Health.
Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is the most used COVID-19 vaccine in Slovenia, which has 2 million citizens. It has so far used about 1.5 million doses of the vaccine, the national news agency STA reported. Enditem