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COVID-19: African Union seals deal with Moderna for 110 million vaccines

BY: Kweku Zurek
COVID-19: African Union seals deal with Moderna for 110 million vaccines
COVID-19: African Union seals deal with Moderna for 110 million vaccines

Moderna today announced a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to make up to 110 million doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine available to the African Union.

The company in a statement said it is prepared to deliver the first 15 million doses in the fourth quarter of 2021, 35 million doses in the first quarter of 2022, and up to 60 million doses in the second quarter of 2022. All doses are offered at Moderna’s lowest tiered price, in line with the Company’s global access commitments.

“We are pleased to be able to supply our vaccine to the African Union through this agreement, which was facilitated in part by the White House team. This is the first step in our long-term partnership with the African Union. We would like to thank the African Union and the White House for helping to make this possible,” said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna.

“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. 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 Company is also working on plans to allow it to fill doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in Africa as early as 2023, in parallel to building an mRNA vaccine manufacturing facility in Africa.

This new MoU would be in addition to Moderna’s agreement with COVAX to supply up to 500 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine from the fourth quarter of 2021 through 2022.

Additionally, the Company recently announced an investment of up to $500 million to plan to build a state-of-the-art mRNA facility in Africa with the goal of producing up to 500 million doses of vaccines at the 50 µg dose level each year.

"This is important as it allows us to increase the number of vaccines available immediately," AU coronavirus envoy Strive Masiyiwa said in an email to Bloomberg.

"We urge other vaccine producing countries to follow the lead of the (U.S. government) and give us similar access to buy this and other vaccines."

"This is important as it allows us to increase the number of vaccines available immediately," AU coronavirus envoy Strive Masiyiwa said in an email to Bloomberg.

"We urge other vaccine producing countries to follow the lead of the (U.S. government) and give us similar access to buy this and other vaccines."

The Moderna purchase is the second time that the AU has agreed with a pharmaceutical company to buy COVID-19 vaccines. It reached a deal in March with Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) for up to 400 million doses.

The AU is paying the same price per dose as COVAX, a global scheme meant to ensure fair vaccine access, Masiyiwa said. In May, Moderna said it would sell COVAX vaccines at its "lowest tiered price" without disclosing further details.