The COVAX alliance said it now had agreements in place for nearly two billion doses, roughly doubling its supply, with the first deliveries due in early 2021.
The initiative, co-led by the GAVI vaccine alliance, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), said it aimed to deliver 1.3 billion doses of approved vaccines next year to 92 eligible low- and middle-income economies.
All 190 economies that have signed up to COVAX will “have access to doses in the first half of 2021, with first deliveries anticipated to begin in the first quarter of 2021 – contingent upon regulatory approvals and countries’ readiness for delivery. Today’s announcements offer the clearest pathway yet to end the acute phase of the pandemic by protecting the most vulnerable populations around the world,” it said in a statement.
New agreements announced on Friday include an advance purchase agreement with AstraZeneca for 170 million doses, and a memorandum of understanding for 500 million doses from Johnson & Johnson.
Richard Hatchett, CEPI’s chief executive, said the COVAX alliance was also in talks with Pfizer and BioNtech and Moderna.
COVAX was launched by GAVI and the WHO in April to ensure access for COVID-19 shots to poor and middle-income countries.
(Edits by EP News Bureau)