Moderna announced on Tuesday that it has reached an agreement to sell up to 110 million shots of its Covid-19 vaccine to African Union member nations, a move that comes at a time when vaccine makers and wealthy nations are under increasing pressure to fulfill commitments to poorer nations with much lower vaccination rates.
Moderna declared in a press statement on Monday that it will provide 15 million injections before the end of the year and an additional 35 million doses by the end of March.
The business stated that it is working on plans to bottle doses of its vaccine in Africa by 2023, as well as to develop an mRNA vaccine production plant on the continent.
Moderna's new promise comes on top of its previous commitment to give 500 million vaccine doses to the WHO-backed Covax program, which was designed to ensure fair vaccination access but has subsequently been criticized for failing poorer countries.
Another vaccine maker, BioNTech announced intentions on Tuesday to start building a production facility for its mRNA vaccine in the African Union in mid-2022. The business stated that the facility's initial product line will produce roughly 50 million mRNA vaccine doses and that it might potentially develop to a capacity of several hundred million doses per year. Initially, the facility will be manned, owned, and administered by BioNTech.
The multinational pharmaceutical company intends to eventually shift production capacity and know-how to local partners.