Vaccine firms pledge 3.5 bn COVID doses for poorer nations

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Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson told a G20 health summit Friday they will supply around 3.5 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses at cost or discount to poorer nations this year and next.

US pharma giant Pfizer will deliver two billion doses "over the next 18 months", including one billion in 2021, chairman and chief executive Albert Bourla said.

Moderna chief executive Stephane Bancel announced "up to 95 million doses" for 2021 and "up to 900 million" for 2022, including through the Covax vaccine-sharing programme.

Paul Stoffels, vice chairman and chief scientific officer of Johnson & Johnson, said the company had a deal with Covax for up to 200 million doses in 2021, and was discussing "the potential supply of an additional 300 million... for a combined total of up to 500 million doses."

Earlier, the EU pledged to donate 100 million to , kicking off a global summit on how to recover from the pandemic—and avoid a new one.

European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen made the announcement alongside Prime Minister Mario Draghi of Italy, the country which as the current chair of the G20 is co-hosting the meeting.

World leaders used the summit to emphasise the importance of scaling up efforts across the world and set out what they need to do to avoid another similar crisis.

The EU also announced a new initiative to support local manufacturing in Africa, as von der Leyen said vaccines must reach "everybody, everywhere".

© 2021 AFP

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