WHO in talks with Pfizer, Moderna on Covid-19 vaccines at affordable prices

The World Health Organization is in talks with US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and US biotechnology company Moderna over whether their coronavirus vaccines could be part of the early launch of COVAX at prices suitable for poorer populations.

A senior WHO official told the news agency Reuters that the global health body has been in talks with both agencies to include its coronavirus vaccine as part of an early global launch.

WHO Senior Adviser Bruce Aylward said he saw a “strong commitment” from Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla to set prices at levels appropriate to poorer populations. The WHO Chief Adviser expected a few news items on the increased number of producers joining the list of suppliers to the COVAX vaccination facility in the coming weeks.

At the Indian Serum Institute, Bruce Aylward said SII may need to be a larger part of the COVAX facility as it will be a crucial part of the equation for Covid-19.

Aylward, meanwhile, said the body was looking at new financial instruments to help fill a $ 28 billion financial gap for Covid-19 instruments, saying the funding was proving to be a “real challenge”.

“It’s a real challenge in today’s tax environment, despite the fact that this is the best deal in town,” Aylward told Geneva-based journalists. “This will be rewarded in 36 hours, once we change trade and travel again,” he added.

A joint initiative of WHO, the Gavi Vaccine Alliance and the Coalition for Innovations for Epidemic Preparedness (CEPI), COVAX was founded to ensure the equitable distribution of the coronavirus vaccine.

COVAX was established under the WHO Accelerator for Access to COVID-19 Instruments (ACT), so developing nations are not left behind in the international bidding war for Covid-19 vaccines.

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