The WHO and the pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced on Friday a contract for up to 40 million starting doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine for poorer countries via the global Covax pool.
World Health Organization director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Covax – the global bundled coronavirus vaccine sourcing and fair distribution – could start dispensing doses from February.
“I am pleased to announce that Covax has signed an agreement with Pfizer-BioNTech for up to 40 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine,” he said at a press conference in Geneva.
Covax plans to secure enough Covid-19 vaccines this year for the 20 percent most at risk in every country, poor or rich.
Covax finances the 92 affected low and middle-income economies, while acting as replacement insurance policies in richer countries.
With the aim of pooling the risk and benefit, Covax has reached agreements with manufacturers for two billion vaccine doses and secured options for a further billion.
It is jointly led by WHO, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and CEPI, the coalition for innovation in epidemic preparation.
“Vaccines give all of us hope to end the pandemic and put the economy on the path to recovery,” Tedros said.
“But we can only end the pandemic everywhere if we end it everywhere. And for that we need every Member State, every partner and every vaccine manufacturer on board.”
Pfizer chairman Albert Bourla, more generally than Covax, said he was confident that Pfizer-BioNTech could produce two billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine by the end of 2021.
“Science will win and win for everyone,” he said at the press conference.
When asked how many vaccine doses each manufacturer could produce this year, Gavi CEO Seth Berkley said, “I think we’re talking about numbers in the six to seven billion doses range.”
Tedros added, “It is not vaccines alone that will help end the pandemic, but vaccinations.
“We still have a lot to do, but the light at the end of the tunnel is getting brighter.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and published from a syndicated feed.)