Pfizer to give 40m doses of vaccine to poor countriesWorld | 23 Jan 2021 10:45 pm
Pfizer will supply up to 40 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine to a global alliance aiming to provide poor nations with coronavirus vaccines, the head of the World Health Organization said Friday, CNBC reports.
The deal will allow Covax — co-led by the WHO — to begin delivering vaccine doses to participating countries in February, WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press briefing. Tedros added that, pending emergency authorization, the program expects 150 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine to become available for distribution in the first quarter of this year.
The Covax program aims to provide 2 billion doses of vaccines to participating countries, which includes low- to middle-income nations, by the end of this year. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two shots spread weeks apart, indicating the agreement would cover just 20 million people.
“This is not just significant for COVAX, it is a major step forward for equitable access to vaccines, and an essential part of the global effort to beat this pandemic. We will only be safe anywhere if we are safe everywhere,” Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, said in a statement.
Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said during the press briefing that the company will provide the doses of vaccine to Covax and the poorer nations at a cost. Pfizer was the first company to receive a global emergency use listing for its vaccine from the WHO, allowing other countries to expedite their regulatory approval processes to begin administering the vaccine.
Bourla said the company will help deliver the doses, which require ultra-cold storage and special handling, to low-income countries. UNICEF, which is helping deliver the doses, has previously warned some of the world’s poorest countries could face challenges storing and administering the shots once they arrive.