Oct 26, 2021 - World

Moderna to sell African countries up to 110 million COVID vaccine doses

A nurse prepares a dose of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine at Oltepesi Dispensary in Kajiado, Kenya.

A nurse prepares a dose of the Moderna COVID vaccine at the Oltepesi Dispensary in Kajiado, Kenya. Photo: Patrick Meinhardt/AFP via Getty Images

Moderna announced Tuesday it agreed to sell up to 110 million COVID vaccine doses to African countries, saying it's prepared to deliver 15 million doses in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Why it matters: The additional doses will help African Union member nations that are lagging behind vaccination targets set by the World Health Organization because of vaccine shortages, though the sale comes after Moderna faced criticism for not doing enough to vaccinate the world.

  • Moderna said it can deliver 35 million doses to the African Union in the first quarter of 2022, and up to 60 million doses in the second quarter.

What they're saying: “We believe our vaccine can play an important role in addressing the needs of low-income countries given its combination of high Phase 3 efficacy against COVID-19, strong durability in the real-world evidence, and superior storage and handling conditions," said Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel.

  • "We recognize that access to COVID-19 vaccines continues to be a challenge in many parts of the world and we remain committed to helping to protect as many people as possible around the globe.”

The big picture: The lack of a steady supply of vaccines against the virus increases the likelihood of a vaccine-resistant variant emerging.

  • A top Biden official publicly threatened Moderna earlier this month with more aggressive government action if it did not voluntarily provide enough vaccines to the global initiative COVAX at not-for-profit prices, which the administration has asked it to do.

Go deeper: The global coronavirus vaccine gap

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