Gavi agrees to purchase 200M Johnson & Johnson vaccine doses

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May 21 (UPI) — Gavi, the vaccine alliance, signed an advance purchase agreement for 200 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine for the World Health Organization’s COVAX program.

The supply of the single-dose vaccine will be available to self-financing and Gavi COVAX eligible participants, according to a statement released by Gavi on Friday. The organization plans to remain in discussions with Johnson & Johnson for the supply of 300 million additional doses in 2022.

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“Today’s agreement between Gavi and Johnson & Johnson means the COVAX Facility is able to offer participants yet another safe and effective tool against the pandemic,” said Dr. Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi. “As a one-dose vaccine, the J&J vaccine has particular relevance for places with difficult infrastructure, making it a very important addition to the portfolio.”

The portfolio consists of agreements related to eight vaccines and vaccine candidates — AstraZeneca/Oxford, Pfizer, Covishield, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson, SII-Covishield, SII-Covovax and Sanofi/GSK.

Gavi hopes to add 10 to 12 more vaccines to its portfolio and is seeking to raise $1.6 billion for the 1.8 billion doses of the COVAX AMC vaccine.

“As part of this effort, the government of Japan will be hosting the upcoming Gavi COVAX AMC Summit, bringing together world leaders, the private sector, civil society and key technical partners in a virtual event on June 2,” according to the statement.

In April, WHO announced that COVAX delivered vaccines to more than 100 countries around the world.

Meanwhile, Kenya is asking Gavi and COVAX to speed the redistribution of unused AstraZeneca vaccine doses to countries that can use them to avoid expiration.