Science

Pfizer offers 40 mn Covid shots to poorer countries at cost

Pfizer offers 40 mn Covid shots to poorer countries at cost”

The World Health Organization said on Friday it had reached an agreement with Pfizer/BioNTech for 40 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine and should be able to start delivering vaccines to poor and lower-middle income countries next month under its COVAX program.

"The clinical and epidemiologic characteristics of anaphylaxis case reports after receipt of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine are similar to those reported after receipt of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine", the CDC said.

"By far most importantly, [FDA considered] the need to ensure that the maximum number of individuals were vaccinated in the United States as rapidly as possible, since using 6 doses from the vials will vaccinate 16.6 percent more Americans than 5 doses would", a spokesperson said.

The deal is a boost to the global program known as COVAX, as wealthy nations have snapped up most of the millions of coming shots.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the new agreement with Pfizer should allow vaccinations to begin in February for health workers, although details of supply arrangements are still being finalized.

New York-based Pfizer Inc. had not previously committed to providing its COVID-19 vaccine to poor countries without making a profit during the pandemic, as a couple rivals have.

Pfizer to supply 40M COVID-19 shots for poor countries

The Trump administration Food and Drug Administration on January 6 approved a Pfizer request to update its vaccine label to clarify that six doses, instead of five, can be drawn from each vial.

The cause of the reaction in response to the vaccines remains unknown, although both products use similar medical technologies and require two doses for maximum effectiveness.

"Today marks another milestone for COVAX", said Dr. Seth Berkley, chief executive officer (CEO) of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which leads COVAX procurement and delivery.

A heavily female ratio was also noted with the Pfizer vaccine, which experts say could be due to the fact that more women than men have been vaccinated, at a rate of approximately two to one.

But without enough specialized syringes, Pfizer's decision likely means that the US will have fewer usable doses than it was counting on. That long-term goal comes with a short-term cost: The company is slowing production at its Belgium factory while it makes changes needed to boost production.

More news: England's Eddie Jones self-isolating after coach tests positive for COVID-19



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