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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

Go deeper

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
Updated Nov 26, 2021 - Health

COVID vaccines of the future might not be shots

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

As vaccine makers pursue the next generation of COVID-19 vaccines, some are working to develop products that wouldn't require a shot.

Why it matters: Delivering a vaccine through a pill or a nasal spray could make them much easier to administer, especially in places where distribution is challenging — or even for people who just don't like needles.

Updated Nov 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: U.S. to mandate vaccines for anyone who crosses borders starting in January — Shots lagged data by months — The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort.
  2. Health: The Thanksgiving bouncers — Axios-Ipsos poll: Thanksgiving roulette — Experts criticize CDC's language on vaccine boosters — America's Thanksgiving gamble.
  3. Politics: Biden administration asks appeals court to reinstate vaccine mandate — Michigan recommends face masks for all residents amid surge.
  4. Education: A COVID strategy backfires at schools — Schools across the U.S. offer vaccine drivesBenefits of in-person school outweigh risks, study finds.
  5. World: EU drug regulator recommends Pfizer COVID vaccine for kids — Italy announces new COVID restrictions for unvaccinated people — European health agency urges expanding booster shot access.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Nov 26, 2021 - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.