Fearing supply shortfall, European Union wants to buy more COVID vaccines

Cheryl Sanders
September 21, 2020

Among the half of Americans who say they would not get a vaccine, 76pc said concern about side effects was a major reason why they would definitely or probably not get it.

At the same time, the Malaysian government, through the Ministry of Health (MOH) has signed non-disclosure agreements with several worldwide pharmaceutical companies, which are now testing COVID-19 vaccines in the third phase of clinical trials, to negotiate the supply of vaccines which could be approved.

The WHO scheme, called COVAX, wants to secure 2 billion doses by the end of 2021 and many countries, majority wealthy nations such as the United States, are in a race to ensure they have their own supplies of potential vaccines. Global coronavirus cases exceeded 30 million on Thursday (17 September), according to a Reuters tally, and the pandemic shows no signs of slowing.

The 172 economies comprise 80 higher-income countries that will finance the Covid-19 vaccines from their own national budgets, while the remaining 92 low- and middle-income countries will receive financial support to access the vaccines.

Regarding the price of the vaccine, he said it could not be predicted as of now.

The regulatory process of the Russian-developed vaccine is also included in the discussion, the Health official furthered.

Moderna has a vaccine supply deal in place with the USA for 100 million doses, and has finished advanced talks with the European Union for the vaccine.

One of the COVAX Facility's key goals is to deliver 2 billion doses of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines by 2021.

New Zealand said it would join the COVAX facility in July.

Earlier this month, the SII had paused the clinical trials of the vaccine candidate in the country till further orders after its partner British-Swedish pharma giant AstraZeneca stopped the trials in other countries because of "an unexplained illness" in a participant in the study.

The Commission has privately warned EU governments not to buy vaccines through COVAX, European officials have told Reuters, as the global procurement scheme could result in the EU having a small share of shots as its population is only 450 million of the world's almost 8 billion people. It is also one of the largest donors to the World Health Organization for securing vaccines.

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