Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines Photo: Dreamstime

Vaccine Equity: Moderna plans to supply 500m COVID-19 doses to COVAX initiative

*The fresh vaccine supply pact boosts the global vaccine campaign through 2022 over growing concerns for several vulnerable regions amid the current crisis in India

*Available data shows COVAX Initiative has shipped about 50 million vaccine doses to over 120 countries and territories around the world as of late April 2021

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

Against the backdrop of growing concerns about the need for vaccine equity, access and vaccinations in several countries of the world coupled with the current Indian crisis, Moderna Incorporated, a United States company, has agreed to provide about 500 million doses of its COVID-19 shots to the programme known as COVAX so as to boost global vaccination efforts.

ConsumerConnect gathered though “most of the shipments” will not arrive until next year, Moderna is joining other vaccine developers, including AstraZeneca Plc, Pfizer Incoporated and Johnson & Johnson in supplying shots to COVAX, which has faced setbacks in its bid to help lower-income, emerging markets and developing countries.

The vaccine last week was cleared for emergency use by the World Health Organisation (WHO), making it eligible for COVAX, according to Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, one of the partners in the initiative in a statement.

Accordingly, Moderna last week noted that it would produce as many as three billion doses of its vaccine 2022, as it makes new investments to bolster up output.

Stephane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Moderna, said he was deeply worried about variant-driven epidemics in places such as South America and India.

This publication had reported that COVAX encountered funding challenges, delivery delays, and other hurdles in a high-stakes campaign to narrow the vaccine-access gap even prior to the crisis in India.

As India confronts a devastating resurgence of the illness, concerns are rising for many countries around the world that have been left behind their wealthier counterparts.

In 2020, rich countries reportedly snapped up doses of vaccines from Moderna and other drugmakers, and the United Starsws (US) alone has already administered more than 240 million doses, a CNN report said.

In the meantime, the COVAX Initiative has shipped about 50 million doses to more than 120 countries and territories, based on data through late April 2021.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Monday, May 3 said the supplies of Moderna’s mRNA vaccine to COVAX are set to begin in the fourth quarter, with 34 million doses of the total available in 2021.

The vaccine manufacturer will supply as many as 466 million doses in 2022 and potentially provide access to shots that are adapted to fight variants of the Coronavirus in the future, report noted.

In terms of the strategic importance of the deal with Gavi, report indicates that the Moderna vaccine doses will help to broaden COVAX’s portfolio at a crucial time.

The programme is heavily reliant on the shot from AstraZeneca, which is cheaper and easier to deploy, but has faced worries about rare blood clots that have complicated immunisation campaigns.

More so, COVAX is also leaning on the Serum Institute of India Limited as a key supplier, but the country said in March this year, that it would slow down exports to focus on its own needs in the home country.

Gavi Chief Executive Officer Seth Berkley in the statement said: “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.”

Gavi has said it is seeking to raise $2 billion by June to secure additional doses to cover as much as 30 percent of the populations in 92 lower-income economies.

ConsumerConnect reports COVAX is led by Gavi, the WHO and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and works with organisations, including the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

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