In mid-March, Pfizer’s vice president of operations, Chaz Calitri, was at his Collegeville home when he received a call from his boss, writes Carolyn Y. Johnson for The Washington Post.
He was informed that Pfizer’s chief executive, Albert Bourla, wanted to start producing a coronavirus vaccine. The key to this effort was to be Kalamazoo, the 80-building campus in Michigan that Calitri oversees.
Calitri has worked in pharmaceutical manufacturing for nearly four decades, but even for him, this was a daunting proposition. Especially as Bourla wanted to shorten the usual production time drastically.
“My head was spinning,” said Calitri. “It was only done at a bench scale, and we want 100 million doses by the end of the year, and 1.3 billion doses by next year — and we didn’t really have a process.”
So Calitri decided to temporarily move to Kalamazoo and got to work.
However despite all the challenges, the work at the campus proved to be successful. Pfizer now has the first COVID-19 vaccine that has so far proven to be more than 90 percent effective in clinical trials and is getting ready to begin shipping.
Read more about the vaccine at The Washington Post by clicking here.