The advance purchase agreement with Moderna carries up to 500 million doses, but deployment will not begin until the fourth quarter, with 34 million doses available this year, the GAVI vaccine alliance announced on Monday.
The big one – 466 million – would not be available until next year, he said.
The agreement expands the program’s vaccine portfolio to eight and contains options to potentially access vaccine doses suitable for variants in the future, he said.
The deal follows the approval of the US drugmaker’s vaccine on Friday by the WHO for emergency use, a prerequisite for COVAX eligibility. Read more
GAVI manages the COVAX vaccine sharing facility with the World Health Organization.
The Swedish donation is the second from a European Union member after France last month amid growing concerns over growing inequalities in vaccine distribution after wealthy countries built up stocks of vaccines for their citizens. Read more
The EU also wants the bloc to take over the vaccine diplomacy initiative from Russia and China. Read more
Sweden suspended use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in March after reporting rare but serious blood clots among people who had received the vaccine. He then resumed the use of shooting, but only for people aged 65 or over. Read more
WHO has repeatedly urged richer countries to share the excessive doses to help immunize health workers in low-income countries and tame the pandemic that has killed more than 3.3 million people. Read more
But COVAX has also been hit by supply issues with Covid-19 vaccines, including the AstraZeneca vaccine made in India, where authorities have restricted exports due to its rapidly growing epidemic.
Moderna said in a statement that the doses would be offered at its “lowest price” without disclosing further details.
Sweden’s donation aims to help reduce short-term supply delays, ensuring that some countries can administer second doses to high-risk groups, Gavi said.
Since the end of February, GAVI has shipped 49 million doses of Covid-19 to 121 countries and economies, mainly the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“The expansion and diversity of its portfolio has always been a central goal for COVAX, and to remain adaptable in the face of this ever-evolving pandemic – including the growing threat posed by new variants,” said Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi.
Berkley said last month that COVAX aims to deliver a third of a billion doses by the middle of the year. Read more
COVAX hopes to have 2 billion doses by the end of 2021, half of which will go to 92 low-income countries. In total, depending on how Gavi exercises his options, he’s gotten up to 3.6 billion doses, a spokeswoman said.