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Gavi Vaccine Alliance Signs Agreement With Moderna for COVID-19 Vaccines

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As the global global effort to vaccinate people against COVID-19 continues, access to the vaccines against the SARS-CoV-2 virus has proven to be a problem. Offering some relief, however, Gavi Vaccine Alliance has signed an advanced purchase agreement (APA) with Moderna to secure 500 million doses of the biotechnology company's mRNA vaccine – mRNA-1273 – against COVID-19. This is being done in an effort to help the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

We are very pleased to sign this new agreement with Moderna, giving COVAX Facility participants access to yet another highly efficacious vaccine. 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,” stated Gavi CEO, Seth Berkley, in an official press release. 

Earlier in April, Moderna
s vaccine against COVID-19 was approved by the WHO for emergency use, making it the fifth vaccine to be given this accreditation. This, in turn, makes the mRNA-1273 vaccine eligible to be given to COVAX facilities. It is important to remember that the companys mRNA vaccine is one that is given in two doses, 28 days apart. Evidence from clinical trials showed that the vaccine efficacy was 94.1% in protecting against severe COVID-19. The other vaccines which have been approved by the WHO for emergency use are those made by Pfizer, Astrazeneca-SK Bio, Serum Institute of India and Johnson & Johnson.

COVAX was launched in April 2021 by the World Health Organization, the European Commission and France as one of the
pillars of access to COVID-19 Tools” (ACT). COVAX focuses on bridging inequalities in accessing vaccines. Gavi, CEPI and the WHO coordinate on matters of vaccine related research, development and manufacturing for COVAX. The initial goal of the platform was to produce 2 billion doses of vaccines against COVID-19 by the end of 2021 to protect high risk and vulnerable individuals, including frontline healthcare workers. COVAX is also a lifeline for low-income countries who would otherwise not be able to easily access COVID-19 vaccines and also for countries who do not have bilateral deals with manufacturers of the vaccine.

Earlier in April, WHO Director General Dr
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had criticized vaccine inequality, noting the unfair distribution of vaccines around the world. "On average in high-income countries, almost one in four people have received a COVID-19 vaccine. In low-income countries, it is one in more than 500," he said during a press conference. At the time, he also cited the threat of "vaccine nationalism" and stated that there needed to be widespread focus on vaccinating a few individuals in some countries rather than all the people in some countries.

It is estimated that 34 million doses of the vaccine will be ready by the fourth quarter of 2021 and another 466 million doses will be made available in 2022.

s early investment in Modernas vaccine development program helped to get the project off the ground, so Im proud that the vaccine will be made available to protect people in countries around the world through COVAX,” said CEPI CEO Dr Richard Hatchett. This highly effective vaccine is already saving lives, and will play a vital role in the global control of COVID-19,” he added.

Now that the APA has been signed between Gavi and Moderna, a long-term agreement will soon be signed between UNICEF and Moderna to ensure that the logistics of the agreement are worked out and the doses of the vaccine are delivered to participating Gavi COVAX centers.

However, concerns continue to remain with the Serum Institute of India (SII)
unable to supply vaccines to COVAX due to the ongoing surge of COVID-19 cases in the country. The Pune-based institute is the largest single supplier” of vaccines to COVAX.