Chinese COVID-19 vaccine producers Sinopharm and Sinovac reached advance purchase agreements with the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) to provide as many as 550 million doses of China-made vaccines for the world through the COVAX Facility, a move that would largely help the world tackle the raging Delta variant and build immunity, Chinese experts said.
Sinopharm would provide 60 million doses to GAVI, which is purchasing them on behalf of COVAX, from July through October this year. In addition, GAVI has the option to purchase a further 60 million doses in the fourth quarter of 2021 and 50 million more doses in the first half of 2022, if necessary, GAVI announced Monday.
This equates to a potential total of 170 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine that could be made available to self-financing participants of the Facility as well as participants supported by the GAVI COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).
Addition of the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines, which have already been granted World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use Listing (EUL), further diversifies the GAVI-managed COVAX Facility portfolio, which now includes 11 vaccines and vaccine candidates, read the GAVI announcement.
According to another announcement of Sinovac on Monday, the company would also provide COVAX with as many as 380 million doses of vaccines by the first half of 2022.
Among these, 50 million shots will be delivered from July through September. Then GAVI will purchase 150 million doses in the fourth quarter of 2021 and another 180 million doses in the first half of 2022, Sinovac said in the announcement.
The COVAX Facility is a UN-backed global facility to ensure effective and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. As of Monday, the facility had shipped more than 102 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to 135 participants.
Chinese experts said that the agreements would largely help ease the severe global vaccine shortage and help as many people build immunity as soon as possible while the Delta variant is posing a rising risk to global health systems.
“I welcome today’s agreements with Sinopharm and Sinovac, which will make doses immediately available to COVAX participants,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of GAVI.
“Thanks to this deal, and because these vaccines have already received WHO Emergency Use Listing, we can move to start supplying doses to countries immediately,” Berkley noted.
Yin Weidong, CEO of Sinovac, was quoted as saying in the company’s announcement that Sinovac applauded the efforts of international organizations like the WHO and COVAX partners.
“By the end of June, Sinovac had provided more than one billion shots to the world. Our goal is to contribute to the accessibility and affordability of COVID-19 vaccines. The high safety and conventional cold-chain delivery requirements of our inactivated vaccine would ensure that every place in the world can get the shots conveniently,” Yin noted.
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