Moderna has announced a new supply agreement with Gavi for up to 500 Million Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine Moderna for COVAX days after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced emergency approval of the vaccine.
Recall that vaccine rollout by the COVAX programme recently faced a dead end after the Indian government banned the export of the AstraZeneca vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India.
Well, the COVAX- Moderna agreement would see the supply of 34 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine this year.
The rollout of Moderna vaccines is set to begin in the fourth quarter of this year, and the vast majority of the doses in the deal – 466 million – are planned for next year.
Stephane Bancel, the Moderna CEO, expressed support for the COVAX mission and called the deal “an important milestone” to ensure access to its vaccine worldwide.
“We recognise that many countries have limited resources to access COVID-19 vaccines,” Bancel said in a statement.
“We remain committed to doing everything that we can to ending this ongoing pandemic with our mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.”
While celebrating scaling the latest huddle, Gavi CEO Seth Berkley said “Expanding and having a diverse portfolio has always been a core goal for COVAX, and to remain adaptable in the face of this continually evolving pandemic – including the rising threat posed by new variants. This agreement is a further step in that direction.”
The deal also expands the programme’s pipeline of vaccines to eight and contains options to potentially access doses of variant-adapted vaccines in the future, Gavi said.
Meanwhile, Sweden has also donated one million AstraZeneca shots to the global COVAX programme.
Sweden recently stopped the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in March after reports of rare, but serious, blood clots among vaccinated persons. However, vaccination resumed but only for people aged 65 or above.
Per Olsson Fridh, Swedish minister for international development cooperation, told the national news agency TT on Monday that the doses to be donated are the ones the country has no need for following reports of the delivery of large quantities of new vaccines.
“These are doses that we do not need ourselves. We are going to get large deliveries (of other vaccines) in the future,” he said.
Sweden’s donation aims to help address immediate-term supply delays, ensuring some countries can administer second doses to high-risk groups, Gavi said.
The WHO has repeatedly urged wealthier countries to share excess doses to help inoculate health workers in low-income countries and tame the pandemic which has killed more than 3.2 million.
WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for other countries to replicate Sweden’s “superb gesture”.
COVAX urgently needs 20 million doses this quarter to cover supply interruptions, especially for Africa, he said.