American pharmaceutical company Moderna announced an agreement to supply up to 500 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the Covax program, created by the World Health Organization (WHO) to facilitate vaccination worldwide.
Moderna will deliver 34 million doses during the fourth quarter of 2021, while the pact includes an option for the WHO mechanism to acquire another 466 million doses during 2022, the company explained in a statement.
The agreement comes after last Friday the WHO approved the emergency use of Moderna’s vaccine, opening the door for the product to be part of Covax.
This mechanism is used to distribute COVID-19 vaccines around the world, mainly to developing countries, and also uses those developed by Pfizer, AstraZeneca and Janssen (Johnson & Johnson).
“This is an important milestone in working to ensure that people around the world have access to our COVID-19 vaccine,” said Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel, underscoring his support for Covax’s commitment to facilitating broad, affordable and equitable access to vaccines.
Moderna explained that the doses part of this agreement will be sold at the lowest price established by the company, although he did not specify the exact figure.
“We are very pleased to sign this new agreement with Moderna, offering Covax mechanism participants access to another highly effective vaccine,” said Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Vaccine Alliance, who is involved in the management of the platform promoted by the WHO and who is the one who has sealed the pact.
Covax also announced that it will receive a donation from Sweden of one million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
The WHO asks countries not to donate vaccines on their own but to do so through Covax, to have better control of demand problems in developing countries, and other countries such as France and New Zealand have recently announced similar contributions through this humanitarian program.