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Moderna signs deal with COVAX for supply of 500 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to lowest income countries

The Moderna vaccine turned eligible for COVAX supplies after the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued an emergency use listing on April 30.

May 03, 2021 / 07:21 PM IST
Representative image (Source: Reuters)

Representative image (Source: Reuters)

The US-based Moderna Inc, one of the world's leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, announced on May 3 that it has signed a deal with the COVAX global vaccine equity programme to supply 500 million vaccine doses to the lowest income countries.

The agreement was finalised by Gavi (Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation), which co-leads the COVAX global initiative. As per the deal, Moderna would deliver 34 million doses of vaccine in the fourth quarter of 2021 -- between October and December.

"Through this agreement, on behalf of the COVAX Facility, Gavi also retains the option to procure 466 million additional doses in 2022," Moderna said in a statement.

All vaccine doses under this arrangement are being offered at "Moderna's lowest tiered price", in line with the company’s global access commitments, the statement added.

The agreement covers the 92 countries identified as low- and middle-income economies by Gavi. Under the COVAX initiative, concerted efforts are being undertaken to provide these countries with the COVID-19 jabs.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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Also Read: WHO approves Moderna vaccine for emergency use

The Moderna vaccine turned eligible for COVAX supplies after the World Health Organisation (WHO) issued an emergency use listing on April 30. The vaccine, as per the clinical trials, has been found effective in preventing coronavirus infections in individuals aged 18 and older.

The agreement with COVAX is an "important milestone" to ensure that people around the world have access to COVID-19 vaccine, Moderna's Chief Executive Officer Stéphane Bancel said.

“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," Bancel added.

Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, also noted that "this agreement is a further step" in the direction to expand universal access to vaccines.

"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," Berkley said.
Moneycontrol News
first published: May 3, 2021 07:21 pm

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