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WHO in talks with Pfizer, Moderna for affordable COVID vaccines

BusinessToday.In     December 15, 2020

World Health Organisation has roped in Pfizer and Moderna for talks pertaining to the use of their respective coronavirus vaccines as a part of the early roll-out of COVAX. Pfizer, an American pharmaceutical company, and Moderna, an American biotechnology company, are in talks for making the prices of the vaccines reasonable to the poorer populations.

A senior official from WHO told Reuters about its talks with both companies to include their coronavirus vaccines as part of an early global rollout.

Bruce Aylward, senior adviser at WHO said there is "strong commitment" on the part of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla to set the vaccine prices appropriately so as to cater to the poorer populations. Aylward is also expecting more manufacturers to come on board to the COVAX vaccine initiative in the coming weeks.

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Aylward also spoke about the Serum Institute of India, saying that the SII may be required to be a bigger part of the COVAX programme.

WHO is also working on using new financial instruments to fill the $28 billion gap in finance for COVID-19 tools, said the senior adviser, adding that financing is proving to be a "real challenge."

"It's a real challenge in today's fiscal environment despite the fact that this is the best deal in town," said Aylward, adding that "this will pay itself off in 36 hours once we get trade and travel moving again."

COVAX is a joint initiative of the WHO, the Gavi Vaccine Alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), which was founded under the WHO's Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator to ensure optimum and equitable distribution of the vaccines.

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