The Covax global vaccine equity programme has announced on Monday it signed a deal to buy 500 million doses of Moderna’s Covid-19 jabs.
The doses, to come on stream from October at the earliest will broaden out the portfolio of vaccines in the Covax scheme, which has so far been heavily reliant on the AstraZeneca vaccine and hit by delays.
Covax scheme’s co-leader, Gavi announced in a statement that the Moderna doses are expected to start supplying Covax in the final quarter of 2021, with 34 million doses available before the end of the year, adding that 466 million doses will follow in 2022.
The Covax facility ensures access to jabs in poor countries, with the cost covered by donors. Wealthier countries can bulk-buy through the scheme.
Covax is co-led by the World Health Organization, the Gavi vaccine alliance and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
The scheme aims to distribute enough doses to vaccinate up to 27% of the population in the 92 poorest territories participating in the program by the end of the year.
The agreement also contains options for potential future access to Moderna vaccines that have been adapted to variants of the virus.
For vaccines to be eligible for the Covax programme, they must be authorised by the WHO.
The UN health agency signed off on the Moderna vaccine on Friday.
Covax has so far shipped more than 49 million Covid-19 vaccines globally.