EU Seals Second COVID-19 Vaccine Deal As WHO Scheme Deadline Looms

Andrew Cummings
September 21, 2020

Ardern, while announcing the country would climb down Covid-19 alert levels in the coming week, said New Zealand would enter a legally binding agreement to buy any vaccine to emerge from the COVAX Facility.

It said the Malaysian government is also preparing the agreement to join the Coalition for Epidemic and Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and a government-to-government (G2G) pact with the Chinese government to gain access to vaccines developed by pharmaceutical companies in China.

The whole process of clinical trials (Phase-I and Phase III) will take approximately six months, after which the country will be able to manufacture the vaccine if the results are positive, he said. Phase III trials, involving at least 40,000 people, are ongoing in Russian Federation. This put pressure on other vaccine makers to do the same.

That is the same amount of vaccines that the WHO is committed to buying through its COVAX facility in 2021 and distribute among all countries in the world.

The SII has partnered with British-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca for manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine candidate, developed by the University of Oxford.

Moderna Inc, a biotechnology company based in Cambridge, could know if its coronavirus vaccine is effective in combating the virus as early as November, the company's CEO said on Thursday.

"We already face challenges with vaccine acceptance for many proven vaccines", World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in pre-recorded comments, as he spoke about the push to rapidly develop vaccines.

The vast majority of them are in good health, the anti-coronavirus crisis centre had told reporters.

University of Auckland Associate Professor Helen Petousis-Harris, a vaccinologist, said the COVAX Facility was one of the ways the Government could acquire a vaccine, but there was also an interest in negotiating directly with vaccine developers. It's really about spreading the risk and spreading the load, across every possible options.

During a video conference of European Union health ministers on 4 September, the German government, which holds the European Union presidency for the second half of this year, estimated that an additional €750 million would be needed to develop existing vaccine candidates, according to minutes of the meeting seen by Reuters.

The reports found that measles immunisation rates urgently needed improving, a national vaccination register should be considered, and the distribution of the influenza vaccine was hampered by ambiguous policy and poor communication.

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