Moderna will provide up to 500 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to COVAX, the UN-backed program that provides vaccines to people in low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2022. The announcement comes days after the World Health Organization (WHO) added the two-dose vaccine to the list for emergency use, marking the fifth vaccine to receive such authorization.
“I am grateful to our partners Gavi and COVAX for their tireless work and to the entire Moderna team for their collaboration in reaching this agreement,” said Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna, in a statement posted on the website Monday. of the society. “This is an important step as we work to ensure people around the world have access to our COVID-19 vaccine. We recognize that many countries have limited resources to access COVID-19 vaccines. We support COVAX’s mission to ensure broad, affordable and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and we remain committed to doing all we can to end this ongoing pandemic with our COVID-19 mRNA vaccine. ”
Last week, Moderna announced investment initiatives to expand global supply capacity to 3 billion doses in 2022, and raised its manufacturing supply forecast for 2021 to between 800 million and 1 billion doses.
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The first batch of vaccine is expected to be delivered at the end of the year, but the vast majority, around 466 million, will be sent in 2022. The COVAX program is also receiving a boost from Sweden, which has announced that it will do so. a donation of 1 million AstraZeneca images.
“Sweden’s announcement that it will share 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with COVAX is a superb move that needs to be repeated urgently and repeatedly by governments around the world to accelerate the equitable deployment of vaccines. in the world, “Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director general said on Monday in a statement. “Such support will ensure that people in vulnerable countries, especially in Africa, can receive their second dose through the COVAX initiative. Sweden’s most generous support comes at a time when the world needs it most. “
The program has been hit hard by supply issues in recent weeks, when India, a major producer of the AstraZeneca jab, banned exports as it turned its attention to the domestic crisis. Tedros said the program “urgently needed” the 20 million doses it expected to receive in the second quarter of 2021. It is not clear when India could resume shipments as it faces supply shortages and demand for vaccines from its own population. The United States has pledged to send raw materials to India to help with efforts to produce vaccines, oxygen, personal protective equipment and other supplies needed to tackle the devastating outbreak.
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“We are very pleased to sign this new agreement with Moderna, giving COVAX Facility participants access to another highly effective vaccine,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, in a press release. “The expansion and diversity of its portfolio has always been a central objective for COVAX, and to remain adaptable in the face of this ever-evolving pandemic, including the growing threat posed by new variants. This agreement is a further step in that direction. ”