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Moderna has announced an agreement to supply up to 500 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to an international organization that is getting the vaccines to poorer countries.
An initial 34 million doses are expected to be delivered during the fourth quarter.
The agreement was signed with Gavi, an organization that is leading procurement on behalf of the World Health Organization's Covax initiative. Through this agreement, Gavi retains the option to procure 466 million additional doses in 2022.
Moderna is offering its doses at the lowest-tiered price.
Options are in place to address the risk of variants.
WHY THIS MATTERS
The agreement gets the COVID-19 vaccine to countries such as India where it is desperately needed as cases and the number of deaths from the pandemic rise.
On April 30, WHO issued an Emergency Use Listing for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for individuals 18 years of age and older.
This agreement covers the 92 Gavi Covax Advance Market Commitment low- and middle-income countries.
Moderna is in discussions to allocate and supply to self-financing participants in the future.
THE LARGER TREND
The global initiative Covax is co-led by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, regardless of income levels.
The announcement comes as Sweden released a plan to donate 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to help Covax address immediate-term supply delays.
Moderna said on Thursday it is making new funding commitments to increase supply, thus increasing global supply of the vaccine to three billion doses by 2022.
In the United States, vaccine supply is starting to outstrip demand due to vaccine hesitancy.
ON THE RECORD
Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, 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."
"I am grateful to our Gavi and Covax partners for their tireless work and to the entire Moderna team for their collaboration to reach this agreement," said Stéphane Bancel, CEO of Moderna. "This is an important milestone as we work to ensure that people around the world have access to our COVID-19 vaccine.
"We recognize that many countries have limited resources to access COVID-19 vaccines. We support COVAX's mission to ensure broad, affordable and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and we remain committed to doing everything that we can to ending this ongoing pandemic with our mRNA COVID-19 vaccine."
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