UN program inks Moderna deal on 500M doses, starting in Q4
GENEVA (AP) — Moderna and vaccine promoter Gavi have announced a firm deal by which the pharmaceutical company will provide up to 500 million doses for the U.N.-backed program to ship coronavirus vaccines to needy people in low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2022.
The advance purchase agreement announced Monday comes just days after the World Health Organization, after weeks of delays, announced emergency approval for the Moderna vaccine that will pave the way for its rollout in the U.N.-backed COVAX program.
However, deliveries are not set to begin until the fourth quarter of this year, and the vast majority of the doses in the deal — 466 million — are planned for next year. The remaining 34 million are expected this year.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Many experts say the COVID-19 crisis is acute now, with India in particular facing an unprecedented surge in cases. The Moderna vaccine has generally been considered among the most effective so far in combating new variants, like the one that is spreading in India.
The arrangement means that Cambridge, Mass.-based Moderna can join the COVAX rollout that already includes vaccines from Oxford-AstraZeneca, which has the biggest role so far in the program, and Pfizer-BioNTech, which has committed far fewer doses to it.
Supplies of the AstraZeneca vaccine for COVAX that are being produced in India have been limited in recent month as the New Delhi government and the Indian subcontractor divert much of that production to combating the devastating at home.
The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation, a public-private partnership that co-manages COVAX with Gavi and WHO, made an early investment into the Moderna vaccine as the pandemic arose — and the first official link-up between the company and...