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Pfizer/BioNTech reach vaccine supply agreement with COVAX

Up to 40 million doses will be supplied to the international vaccine-sharing facility

Pfizer and BioNTech have agreed to supply up to 40 million doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to COVAX, the international vaccines-sharing facility.

COVAX is the vaccine pillar of the WHO’s ACT Accelerator – a collaborative initiative co-led by the World Health Organization (WHO) that aims to accelerate development, production and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines.

Although specific details of the deal are scarce, the WHO said in a statement that rollout of the doses will begin with the ‘successful negotiation and execution of supply agreements’.

COVAX is aiming to secure two billion vaccines in 2021 – the global initiative now has agreements in place to access just over this amount, according to the WHO.

This includes a deal with AstraZeneca (AZ) for 170 million doses of its Oxford University-partnered vaccine, as well as a ‘memorandum of understanding’ with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) for 500 million of its single-dose jab.

Another deal, agreed with the Serum Institute of India, will see COVAX receive 200 million doses of either the AZ/Oxford vaccine or the Novavax vaccine. COVAX also has a statement of intent from Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for 200 million doses of a candidate vaccine that the companies are developing.

The WHO announced last week that it is set to exercise an option to receive the first 100 million doses of the AZ/Oxford vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute.

According to the WHO, the majority of these doses will be delivered in the first quarter of 2021, depending on when the AZ/Oxford vaccine receives a WHO emergency use listing (EUL).

“The arrival of vaccines is giving all of us a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the WHO.

“But we will only truly end the pandemic if we end it everywhere at the same time, which means it’s essential to vaccinate some people in all countries, rather than all people in some countries,” he added.

Last week, Ghebreyesus said that vaccine nationalism poses a “catastrophic moral failure”, highlighting the inequitable access to vaccines availability between high-income and low-income countries.

He added that bilateral deals signed by high-income countries could threaten the COVAX facility by delaying deliveries and causing “continued social and economic disruption”.

Ghebreyesus urged countries with bilateral contracts to provide transparency on these deals with COVAX – including on volumes, pricing and delivery dates.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

25th January 2021

From: Regulatory

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