Facing pressure for keeping its Covid vaccine out of reach of poorer countries, Moderna said on Tuesday that it had agreed to sell up to 110 million shots to African Union member nations.
The company said it would deliver 15 million of the shots by the end of this year and 35 million more by the end of March, offering a modest supply boost for a continent with severe vaccine shortages and some of the world’s lowest vaccination rates.
The New York Times reported this month that Moderna’s shots have gone almost entirely to wealthier countries. Moderna has shipped a larger share of its doses to high-income countries than any other vaccine manufacturer, according to recent data from the data firm Airfinity.
Moderna also said on Tuesday that it was “working on plans” to bottle doses of its Covid vaccine somewhere on the African continent as soon as 2023, in addition to its plans announced this month to open a factory in Africa at an unspecified date.
said it planned in the middle of next year to start building a factory somewhere in Africa to manufacture vaccines that use mRNA technology. BioNTech also said it is in talks with Biovac, a South African manufacturer, about expanding an agreement under which Biovac has been contracted to start bottling the Pfizer vaccine.
Moderna has been sharply criticized for not sharing its vaccine recipe or transferring its technology to manufacturers in poorer countries that could make its shots for local
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