Pfizer and BioNTech to supply Covax with 40 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine

Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (Credit: Keystone/EPA/Neil Hall)

Pfizer and BioNTech will supply up to 40 million doses of their Covid-19 vaccine to Covax, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and GAVI programme designed to ensure that poorer countries also have access to the vaccine. 

The WHO on Friday said that Covax has signed an advance purchase agreement with Pfizer, allowing it to start vaccinating poor and lower-income countries next month, once supply agreements have been negotiated. 

Additionally, Covax announced that, pending WHO emergency use listings, nearly 150 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford candidate are expected to be available for use in the first quarter of the year through existing agreements with the Serum Institute of India (SII) and AstraZeneca.

The programme is on track to deliver at least 2 billion doses by the end of the year, including at least 1.3 billion doses to 92 lower income economies.

“Today marks another milestone for Covax,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which leads Covax procurement and delivery.

“Pending regulatory approval for the AstraZeneca/Oxford candidate and pending the successful conclusion of the supply agreement for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, we anticipate being able to begin deliveries of life-saving Covid-19 vaccines by the end of February.”

“The urgent and equitable rollout of vaccines is not just a moral imperative, it’s also a health security, strategic and economic imperative,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization. “This agreement with Pfizer will help to enable COVAX to save lives, stabilize health systems and drive the global economic recovery.”