European Union executive signs contract for up to 300m Covid-19 vaccine doses

Daniel Fowler
September 20, 2020

In August, the Commission paid AstraZeneca €336 million to secure under these conditions 300 million doses of its vaccine under development with an option to buy other 100 million shots.

In addition, Member States may donate the portions reserved for them to low- and middle-income countries.

A final European Union deal would be the single largest signed by Pfizer and BioNTech in their quest to distribute 100 million doses of their BNT162 shot by the close of 2020.

Today's contract is financed by the Emergency Support Instrument, which dedicates funds to the creation of a portfolio of potential vaccines with different profiles and produced by different companies. The Indian Express reported that if it receives this go-ahead then the Russian Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine will also leapfrog Covidshield - the Coronavirus vaccine developed by the Serum Institute of India (SII) - as the frontrunner in the efforts to produce a vaccine for India.

Moderna revealed that the Phase-3 study of its Covid vaccine candidate, mRNA-1273, involving 30,000 volunteers in the U.S., has enrolled 25,296 participants as of September 16. It can also improve the likelihood of delivering an effective vaccine that can be manufactured at scale.

To provide additional transparency in the context of the pandemic, the company also made Phase 3 protocol available online.

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According to the media reports, on July 21, clinical trials for Russia's second COVID-19 vaccine were approved, and on July 27, the first volunteer was given a COVID-19 dose.

COVAX - coordinated by GAVI, CEPI, and World Health Organization - is a pooled procurement mechanism for new Covid-19 vaccines that aims to provide participating economies fair and equitable access to vaccines by pooling purchasing power from these nations across a range of candidate vaccines.

Since the high cost and high failure rate make investing in a COVID-19 vaccine a high-risk decision for vaccine developers, these agreement will therefore allow investments to be made that otherwise would simply probably not happen.

"This will ensure vaccine for Covid-19 is acquired quickly and at an affordable price once it has been proven to be safe and effective", the Ministry said adding that it will coordinate the agreement on behalf of the government.

"We are actively preparing for a potential commercial launch of mRNA-1273, our COVID-19 vaccine, and we continue to expand the breadth of Moderna's platform", he said.

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