Photo: Kena Betancur/Getty Images

Merck “is ending a long-term agreement to supply a lifesaving vaccine for children in West Africa,” NPR reports. “At the same time, the company has started sending the vaccine to China, where it will likely be sold for a much higher price.”

Merck has been supplying a vaccine for rotavirus, which kills about 200,000 children per year, as part of a long-term agreement with UNICEF and Gavi, a public-private partnership that provides vaccines in low-income countries.

  • But the company plans to scale back its West African supply by a third this year and next, and then stop delivering it entirely in 2020.
  • As a result, according to NPR, more than 500,000 kids will go without the vaccine in 2019 and as many as 2 million won’t have it in 2020.

Details: Merck sold its rotavirus vaccine to Gavi for $3.50 per dose in Africa. It costs $70 per dose in the U.S.

  • GlaxoSmithKline also sells a rotavirus vaccine, which it sells to Gavi for $2.25 per dose. But it’s not planning to expand its supplies to make up for Merck’s exit.
  • 2 more vaccines are also in the pipeline, but are still several years away from actually being available in West Africa.
  • Analysts told NPR it’s not clear how much more money Merck stands to make in the Chinese market, but rotavirus is a big problem there, too.

Go deeper

Updated 41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Politics: Trump says if Biden's elected, "he'll listen to the scientists"Trump calls Fauci a "disaster" on campaign call.
  2. Health: Coronavirus hospitalizations are on the rise — 8 states set single-day coronavirus case records last week.
  3. States: Wisconsin judge reimposes capacity limit on indoor venues.
  4. Media: Trump attacks CNN as "dumb b*stards" for continuing to cover pandemic.
  5. Business: Consumer confidence surveys show Americans are getting nervousHow China's economy bounced back from coronavirus.
  6. Sports: We've entered the era of limited fan attendance.
  7. Education: Why education technology can’t save remote learning.
2 hours ago - Health

Trump attacks CNN as "dumb b*stards" for continuing to cover pandemic

President Trump attacked CNN for continuing to cover the coronavirus pandemic, calling the network "dumb b*stards" at a campaign rally in Prescott, Arizona on Monday.

Why it matters: The president's attacks on the media and Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious-disease expert, come as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are again surging across the country, just two weeks out from Election Day.

3 hours ago - World

Deal to remove Sudan as terror sponsor paves way for Israel move

President Trump announced Monday that he will be removing Sudan from the State Department’s state sponsors of terrorism list after the Sudanese government agreed to pay $335 million in compensation for families of American victims of terrorism.

The big picture: Trump's announcement is part of a wider agreement that is expected to include moves from Sudan toward normalizing relations with Israel.