UNICEF says it has signed a conditional supply agreement to procure up to 220 million doses of the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccine by later this year.
The deal is contingent on the vaccine being approved for emergency use by the World Health Organisation and on vaccines alliance Gavi signing a purchase agreement to buy vaccines on behalf of the UN-backed initiative known as COVAX.
Sputnik V is currently being assessed by the UN health agency for safety and efficacy. Research published in the journal Lancet this year suggested the vaccine is about 91% effective. The shot is currently used in numerous countries.
In a statement on Thursday, UNICEF says it is “ready to deliver as soon as regulatory milestones have been met”. The announcement could help bolster stocks for the COVAX effort, which aims to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries.The vast majority of COVAX''s supplies are from the Serum Institute of India, which is keeping most of its vaccines to deal with a coronavirus surge of cases and deaths.