Nigeria Takes Delivery Of Over Four Million Moderna Vaccine Doses

 In this file photograph taken on June 29, 2021, a medical official holds a vial of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in Quimper, western France. Fred TANNEAU / AFP
In this file photograph taken on June 29, 2021, a medical official holds a vial of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in Quimper, western France. Fred TANNEAU / AFP

 

The Federal Government on Monday took delivery of another tranche of COVID-19 vaccine doses.

The latest tranche, over four million doses of the Moderna vaccine, was donated by the US government.

Representatives from UNICEF and USAID officially presented the vaccine at a ceremony in Abuja.

According to AFP, the vaccines had arrived Nigeria on Sunday via two planes.

Nigeria had earlier kicked off its COVID-19 vaccination program in April after receiving 3.9 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the COVAX initiative.

Covax was set up to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines, particularly to low-income countries, and has already delivered more than 80 million doses to 129 territories.

The Moderna vaccines, which were approved by NAFDAC in July, are expected to boost the country’s vaccination programme.

The virus has killed 2,149 people and infected nearly 174,000 in Nigeria, but the real figures are believed to be much higher, in part because of low testing rates.

Last month, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control said it had detected the Delta variant, putting officials on alert for a third wave of infections in the country.

In June, Nigeria barred passengers who are not citizens or permanent residents from entering the country if they have been in South Africa in the past 14 days.

The decision followed similar restrictions imposed on travellers coming from Brazil, India and Turkey.

FG To Receive Over Four Million Doses Of Vaccines On Monday

A file photo of a healthcare worker holding a COVID-19 test kit. TARSO SARRAF / AFP

 

 

The Federal Government will on Monday receive more than four million doses of Moderna COVID-19 Vaccines, the National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHCDA) said on Sunday.

NPHCDA Executive Director/ CEO, Dr. Faisal Shuaib, in a memo issued to journalists in Abuja, said the consignment is a donation from the American government.

The expected shipment will be the largest of vaccines received since the nationwide COVID-19 vaccination campaign started in March this year.

Nigeria has run out of COVID-19 vaccines after an initial four million doses of AstraZeneca, received from the COVAX facility were utilized three weeks ago.

This comes days after Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 (PSC) called for strict compliance to the COVID-19 protocols in the conduct of all political events in the country.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 Third Wave: PSC Warns States, Political Parties To Ensure Strict Compliance

In a communique issued on Friday, the PSC Chairman and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, said the call followed recent confirmation of more cases of the Delta variant of COVID-19 in several states and the continued rising number of infections and hospitalization across the country.

He warned all political parties, State governments, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and State Independent Electoral Commissions (SIEC) to avoid the spread of the virus amid political gatherings and ensure maximum public safety.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has recorded 497 newly confirmed COVID-19 cases as new infections continue to increase amid fears that the third wave of the pandemic has already hit the country.

In its latest update issued on Saturday night, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) said the total number of cases in the country has risen to 173,908, with the new figure indicating a slight decrease from the 590 reported on Friday as the biggest daily figure since March.

The 497 new cases were recorded in 17 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), with Lagos remaining the epicenter of the virus.

While the nation’s commercial capital recorded 211 cases, Akwa-Ibom State came second with 80 new cases while Kwara recorded 73 cases.

In the South-West, Osun State is ranked 4th on the list with 29 cases while Oyo and Rivers each raked in 17 cases. Cross River recorded 15, Anambra nine and Ogun eight.

NAFDAC Approves Moderna And Sputnik Vaccines For Use

 

A health worker prepares a dose to inoculate a woman with the Covaxin Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine at a school-turned-vaccination centre.
Tauseef MUSTAFA / AFP

 

The National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control has approved two more COVID-19 vaccines for use in Nigeria.

They are the Moderna and Sputnik vaccines.

Both vaccines were approved for emergency use, according to the Director-General of NAFDAC, Professor Moji Adeyeye, who announced the news on Thursday at a news conference in Abuja.

The agency had earlier approved the Oxford-Astrazeneca and Pfizer jabs, also for emergency use.

Professor Adeyeye explained that although the Sputnik vaccine, produced in Russia, has not yet been approved by the World Health Organisation, NAFDAC has carried out independent checks on the vaccine and found that the benefits outweigh the risks.

The approval comes as fears of a COVID-19 third wave in Nigeria continues to loom.

On Wednesday, the University of Lagos ordered students to vacate hostels on campus after a number of students reportedly contracted COVID-19.

The possibility of a third-wave has heightened after the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reported the Delta variant of the virus in Nigeria.

The variant is believed to be more contagious and deadlier than its predecessors.

 

 

Moderna Says COVID-19 Vaccine ‘Highly Effective’ In Adolescents

Medical staff prepare Moderna coronavirus vaccines for use at the newly-opened mass vaccination centre in Tokyo on May 24, 2021. (Photo by Carl Court / POOL / AFP)

 

 

US biotech firm Moderna said Tuesday that trials had shown its Covid-19 vaccine is “highly effective” in adolescents aged 12-17 and the company would seek regulators’ approval in June.

“We are encouraged that mRNA-1273 was highly effective at preventing Covid-19 in adolescents,” CEO Stephane Bancel said in a statement.

 

(FILES) In this file photo Moderna vaccines are seen kept on the table at a Covid-19 vaccine at Florida Memorial University Vaccination Site in Miami Gardens, Florida on April 14, 2021 (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP)

“We will submit these results to the US FDA and regulators globally in early June and request authorization.”

 

(FILES) This file photo taken on November 18, 2020 shows a syringe and a bottle reading “Vaccine Covid-19” next to the Moderna biotech company logo. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)

 

If greenlit, as expected, it would be the second Covid vaccine authorized for use in US adolescents after Pfizer’s, which began rolling out this month for 12-to-15-year-olds.

The Moderna study enrolled 3,732 adolescents aged 12 to 17 and randomized, with two-thirds receiving the two doses of the vaccine and the rest receiving a placebo.

After two doses, no cases of symptomatic Covid-19 were observed in the vaccine group compared to four cases in the placebo group, meaning the shots were 100 percent effective.

Adolescents are less likely than adults to contract the illness.

Therefore the study also examined efficacy according to a more stringent definition of Covid, which requires just one symptom in addition to a positive test.

Under this definition, the vaccine was 93 percent effective after the first dose.

The vaccine, called mRNA-1273, was generally well tolerated, consistent with what has been observed in adults, with no significant safety concerns.

The majority of side effects were mild or moderate and included injection site pain, headache, fatigue, muscle ache and chills.

Although adolescents are much less susceptible to severe Covid than adults, experts believe they are important to reach in order to help achieve population immunity against the disease.

The US has reached almost 50 percent of its population of 332 million with at least one dose, but its vaccination campaign is slowing in the face of hesitancy.

President Joe Biden has set a target of having 70 percent of adults vaccinated with at least one dose by July 4. The current figure is almost 62 percent.

EU Watchdog Monitoring Pfizer, Moderna Jabs For Clot Risks

Used vials of Pfizer-BioNTech’s Comirnaty COVID-19 vaccine against the novel coronavirus stand next to a syringe in a doctor’s practice in Suhl, Germany, on May 6, 2021.
Christof STACHE / AFP

 

Europe’s medicines watchdog said Friday it was checking whether Covid-19 vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna could be linked to rare cases of blood clotting, but there was no indication so far.

The European Medicines Agency last month linked two other EU-approved vaccines, one made by AstraZeneca and another by Johnson & Johnson, to rare but occasionally fatal clots, however it stressed the vaccines’ benefits in fighting the coronavirus pandemic outweighed the risks.

The EMA’s safety committee “is closely monitoring whether mRNA vaccines might also be linked to cases of rare, unusual blood clots with low blood platelets.”

“Following a review of reports of suspected side effects, the (committee) considers at this stage that there is no safety signal for the mRNA vaccines,” the Amsterdam-based EMA said.

US drugs giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech as well as the US-based pharmaceutical Moderna base their vaccines on mRNA genetic technology that trains the body to reproduce spike proteins, similar to that found on the coronavirus.

When exposed to the real virus later, the body recognises the spike proteins and is able to fight them off.

So far, only few cases of blood clots with low blood platelets have been reported among the users of the mRNA vaccines.

Compared to the millions of people who have been vaccinated with them, “these numbers are extremely low, and their frequency is lower than the one occurring in people who have not been vaccinated,” the EMA said.

“In addition, these cases do not seem to present the specific clinical pattern observed with Vaxzevria and COVID-19 Vaccine Janssen,” the EMA said, using the brand names for AstraZeneca and J&J’s vaccines.

“Overall, the current evidence does not suggest a causal relation,” the medicines watchdog said.

The EMA also announced it has started reviewing data on a British and US-made antibody to treat coronavirus patients, but that it was too early to rule on its risks and benefits.

The EMA started a “rolling review” of data on sotrovimab, a monoclonal antibody developed by Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline and Vir Biotechnology based out of California.

Sotrovimab is a monoclonal antibody, a type of protein that attaches to the spike protein of the coronavirus, reducing its ability to enter the body’s cells.

The rolling review is a precursor to accelerated authorisation for use within the 27-nation European Union.

-AFP

Moderna COVID-19 Jabs Can Be Up To Six Weeks Apart – WHO

This picture taken on April 24, 2020 shows a sign of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva next to their headquarters, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus. Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP
This picture taken on April 24, 2020 shows a sign of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva next to their headquarters, amid the COVID-19 outbreak, caused by the novel coronavirus.
Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

 

World Health Organization experts on Tuesday cautiously backed delaying second injections of the Moderna coronavirus vaccine in some situations, as they did for the Pfizer-BioNTech jabs.

The WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation (SAGE) also insisted international travellers should not be prioritised for any Covid-19 jabs for the time being.

During a meeting last week, the experts discussed the Moderna vaccine which, like that of Pfizer-BioNTech, uses mRNA technology and is being rolled out across the world.

Both vaccines require boosters after three to four weeks, but several countries facing limited vaccine supplies have said they will delay administering the second injection so that more people can benefit from receiving a first dose.

READ ALSO: UK Unemployment Hits 5.0% On COVID-19 Fallout

The WHO’s vaccine advisory group said it was best to respect the tested intervals between doses of 21 days in the case of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine and 28 days for Moderna.

But earlier this month, it said that in “exceptional circumstances” it was possible to wait for up to 42 days to administer the second dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine — and on Tuesday, it said the same for the Moderna jabs.

Head of the SAGE, Alejandro Cravioto, warned in a virtual press briefing though that “the evidence we have does not go beyond that” six-week cut off.

– ‘As quickly as possible’ –

The UN health agency has so far approved only the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine but it is expected to issue approval for the Moderna jab soon.

“We’re working with Moderna to go as quickly as possible,” WHO’s vaccines chief Kate O’Brien told the online briefing.

The two vaccines are very similar, the experts said, except for the storage requirements, with the Pfizer-BioNTech jab needed to be stored at -70 degrees Celsius (-94 degrees Fahrenheit), while Moderna doses can be stored at -20 C.

With vaccine supplies still limited, the WHO has called for health workers and the most vulnerable to be prioritised and SAGE reinforced the message on Tuesday.

“In the current period of very limited vaccine supply, preferential vaccination of international travellers would counter the principle of equity,” SAGE said.

“Because of this, and the lack of evidence that vaccination reduces the risk of transmission, SAGE currently does not recommend Covid-19 vaccination of travellers.”

– Allergic reactions ‘rare’ –

SAGE also recommended Tuesday that the Moderna vaccine, like the Pfizer-BioNTech one, should only be administered in settings that can deal with potential anaphylactic reaction.

But the experts stressed this was the usual recommendation for most vaccination programmes, pointing to findings from US health authorities last week indicating that severe allergic reaction to the Moderna vaccine was “rare”.

SAGE said there was not enough data to make recommendations on the use of the Moderna jab while breastfeeding or during pregnancy.

And the experts said in situations where there was a shortage of vaccines, people who had been infected with Covid-19 in the previous six months and therefore likely had immunity could opt to postpone vaccination.

But “we are not recommending that programmes exclude individuals on that basis”, SAGE executive secretary Joachim Hombach told the briefing.

Moderna Says COVID Vaccine Effective Against UK, S.Africa Variants

This creative image taken in a studio in Paris on November 16, 2020, showing a syringe and a vaccine vial with the reproduced logo of a US biotech firm Moderna. PHOTO: JOEL SAGET / AFP

 

US biotechnology firm Moderna on Monday said lab studies showed its Covid-19 vaccine would remain protective against variants of the coronavirus first identified in the United Kingdom and South Africa.

But out of caution, the company will test adding a second booster of its vaccine — to make three shots in total — and has begun preclinical studies on a booster specifically for the South African variant.

“We are encouraged by these new data, which reinforce our confidence that the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine should be protective against these newly detected variants,” said Stephane Bancel, Moderna’s CEO.

READ ALSO: Nigeria Reports 964 New COVID-19 Cases, Two More Deaths

“Out of an abundance of caution and leveraging the flexibility of our mRNA platform, we are advancing an emerging variant booster candidate against the variant first identified in the Republic of South Africa into the clinic.”

To study the impact of the existing vaccine, called mRNA-1273, Moderna took blood samples from eight people who had received two doses of the vaccine, and two primates that had also been immunized.

For the B.1.1.7 variant, first identified in the UK, there was no impact on the level of neutralizing antibodies — which bind to the virus and prevent it from invading human cells — that were produced by the shots.

But for the South African variant, B.1.351, there was a sixfold reduction in the neutralizing antibody level.

Even so, it remained above the quantity that was shown to be protective in earlier tests on primates that were infected on purpose.

The company, which carried out the studies with the National Institutes of Health, has submitted the study to a preprint server so it can be analyzed by the wider scientific community.

AFP

German COVID-19 Deaths Top 40,000 As Merkel Warns Of ‘Hardest Weeks’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel looks on as she arrives to answer MPs’ questions regarding the coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic on December 16, 2020, at the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) in Berlin. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

 

The total number of Germany’s coronavirus deaths crossed 40,000 on Sunday, as Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that the coming weeks would be “the hardest” yet.

Germany recorded 465 deaths over the past 24 hours, the Robert Koch Institute for disease control said, raising the toll since the start of the pandemic to 40,343.

More than 1.9 million people have been infected so far, with almost 17,000 new cases added since Saturday.

In her weekly video message on Saturday, Merkel said the full impact of socialising over the Christmas and New Year’s period was yet to show up in the statistics.

She warned Germans that “these next winter weeks will be the hardest phase of the pandemic” so far, with many doctors and medical staff working at their limits.

Germany fared better than many other European countries during the first Covid-19 wave in the spring but it has been hit hard by the second wave.

The nation of 83 million people, the bloc’s most populous, has imposed another round of restrictions to limit social contacts and help hospitals cope with a surge in patients.

More than 5,000 Covid-19 patients are currently in intensive care nationwide, with over 80 percent of intensive care beds occupied.

Germany has closed schools and non-essential shops, culture and leisure facilities until at least January 31 in hope of slowing the outbreak.

Like other EU nations, it started vaccinating citizens against Covid-19 in late December using the Pfizer/BioNTech jab.

More than half a million people have received the jab so far.

A second vaccine, developed by US firm Moderna, will join the rollout in the coming days.

– ‘Absolutely necessary’ –

Merkel acknowledged the vaccine campaign had got off to a slow start, “but the tempo will pick up”, she said.

“What’s important is that we can say: we will have enough of the vaccine available for everyone in Germany,” she added.

“Month after month we will inoculate more people and eventually we will be able to offer the vaccine to anyone who wants it.”

Merkel said the vaccines allowed for “justified hope” that the world could conquer the pandemic.

But she urged Germans to stay patient and said she was “firmly convinced” the current tough curbs on public life are “absolutely necessary”.

A survey by the Kantar research group for Bild am Sonntag newspaper found that 56 percent of Germans agreed with the latest measures to stem the virus spread.

Another 25 percent of respondents said the restrictions did not go far enough.

Just 16 percent said the rules were too strict.

EU Agency Fast Tracks Moderna Vaccine Decision To Jan 6

This creative image taken in a studio in Paris on November 16, 2020. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP) / “

 

The EU’s medicines watchdog said on Thursday that it had brought forward the date for a decision on authorising Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine by nearly a week to January 6.

The Amsterdam-based European Medicines Agency has been under growing pressure to speed up, and earlier this week accelerated the timeframe for Pfizer/BioNTech’s jab.

The EMA had originally been due to decide on US-based Moderna’s vaccine on January 12, but said the company had submitted extra data on Thursday “ahead of schedule”.

“Taking due account of the progress made, the Committee has scheduled an extraordinary meeting on 6 January 2021 to conclude its assessment, if possible,” the EMA said, referring to the medicines committee that decides on such issues.

“The meeting planned for 12 January 2021 will be maintained if needed.”

A clinical trial of 30,400 people found the Moderna vaccine was 94.1 percent effective in preventing Covid-19 compared to a placebo, performing slightly better in younger adults compared to the elderly.

EMA chief Emer Cooke said the under-fire agency had shown it was able to respond.

“We have been able to revise the timetables for the evaluation of the Covid-19 vaccines due to the incredible efforts of everybody involved in these assessments,” Cooke said in a statement.

“The number of infections is increasing across Europe and we are aware of the huge responsibility we have to get a vaccine to the market as quickly as is feasible, whilst maintaining the robustness of our scientific review.”

READ ALSO: US To Revise COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance After Allergic Reactions

With Britain and the United States having pushed through emergency authorisation of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, the EMA has been under pressure to speed up, notably from Germany.

The watchdog, which moved from London last year after Brexit, will decide on a year-long “conditional marketing authorisation” for Pfizer/BioNTech on Monday, having brought the date forward from December 29.

US Panel To Assess Moderna Vaccine As Europe Vows Shots Before Year End

(FILES) In this file photo taken on August 13, 2020, Biotechnology company Moderna protocol files for Covid-19 vaccinations are kept at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP)

 

American experts were set to discuss Thursday if Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine should be authorized, as European nations vowed to get their coronavirus inoculation campaigns rolling before the end of the year.

Surges in infections have prompted tighter restrictions in several European countries, while the United States — the worst-hit nation in the world — set a double record, with more than 3,700 deaths and 250,000 new cases in 24 hours on Wednesday.

With the US floundering in its efforts to control the virus, Moderna’s vaccine is seen as a potential boost in the fight against Covid-19, and approval from the experts’ panel on Thursday could potentially pave the way for a rollout early next week.

“Recent news on vaccines has been very positive. However, significant challenges and uncertainties remain with regard to the timing, production, and distribution of vaccines as well as their efficacy across different groups,” Jerome Powell, chair of the US Federal Reserve, said Wednesday.

“The ongoing surge in new Covid-19 cases both here, in the United States, and abroad is particularly concerning. And the next few months are likely to be very challenging.”

Should the panelists vote in favor of the Moderna vaccine, as is widely expected, the Food and Drug Administration is likely to give a green light soon after, making the US the first country to approve it.

The US has already started vaccinating people with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and is hoping to have 20 million people immunized in December.

Healthcare workers and long-term care residents are at the front of the line, and efforts are under way to convince the American public that the vaccines are safe.

The White House announced Vice President Mike Pence and his wife will get the vaccine on Friday in a public display, while a spokeswoman said President Donald Trump is “absolutely open to taking the vaccine.”

Since Trump recently recovered from a bout of Covid-19, he is thought to be currently immune.

– ‘It’s stressful’ –
Known global infections are fast approaching 74 million, with more than 1.6 million deaths, and nations across Europe were battling surges in Covid-19 numbers with fears of an explosion in cases over the Christmas period.

The spikes have prompted tighter restrictions across many countries on the continent, which is nearing 500,000 deaths from the disease.

Denmark, France, Turkey and the Netherlands have all strengthened curbs, while Germany began a new partial lockdown on Wednesday to curb the spread of the virus.

“It feels like a Sunday,” said Ines Kumpl, 57, observing the deserted streets of Berlin on the first day of a new partial lockdown. “These measures are necessary but it’s stressful.”

Germany has said it will begin vaccinations on December 27, a date expected to be matched across the European Union.

France said it would receive around 1.16 million vaccine doses by year-end, with a further 2.3 million coming over the next two months.

Pressure has been mounting on the European Union to speed up approvals since Britain and the US started their immunization programs with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

– Bolsonaro U-turn –
As much of the world waits to get a shot, Twitter said that it would crack down on false posts and conspiracy theories about vaccines.

The policy will include action against claims — presented without any evidence — that the vaccine is being used to intentionally cause harm or control people.

Brazil’s virus-skeptic President Jair Bolsonaro performed an about-turn on Wednesday as he backed the national mass immunization campaign.

His support came a day after he told a well-known television presenter: “I won’t get vaccinated. It’s my problem. Full stop.”

While wealthier nations have managed to secure large numbers of doses, there are concerns that poorer nations may not get access any time soon.,

Peru, which has one of the world’s highest Covid-19 mortality rates, has admitted it had no idea when it would be able to get hold of sought-after vaccine stocks.

WHO In Talks With Pfizer, Moderna On COVID-19 Vaccine Access

This combination of file pictures created on August 05, 2020 shows a sign for Pfizer pharmaceutical company in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on March 18, 2017, and the Moderna headquarters in Cambridge, Massachusetts on May 18, 2020.  DOMINICK REUTER, Joseph Prezioso / AFP

 

The World Health Organization said Tuesday it is in discussions with Pfizer and Moderna about possibly including their high-tech coronavirus vaccines among early jabs for poor countries at affordable prices.

The WHO-backed Covax facility, created to ensure equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines around the world as they become available, is aiming to provide some two billion doses by the end of next year.

It has already secured hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine candidates being developed by AstraZeneca, Novavax and Sanofi-GSK.

WHO senior advisor Bruce Aylward said the organisation was looking at a range of other jabs, as well as the current frontrunners.

He said WHO was “in conversations” with Pfizer and Moderna about whether their products could be part of “early roll-out of vaccines”.

READ ALSO: Bomb Kills Deputy Governor In Afghan Capital

But, he stressed, “we also need to make sure that they are at prices that are appropriate for the populations we are trying to serve and the countries we are trying to help.”

US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has, along with German BioNTech, created the first coronavirus jab to receive regulatory approval in a number of Western countries. Vaccination campaigns have already begun in Britain and the United States.

The Moderna vaccine is expected to quickly receive approvals as well.

– Light, but a long tunnel –
Both vaccines use cutting-edge technology and have been shown in Phase III trials to be highly effective — and they are expected to be expensive.

But Aylward hailed public comments from Pfizer chief Albert Bourla in which he talked about cutting prices for low-income countries.

“He has said we are committed to making sure that our products see global use and we recognise that requires pricing it at the right level to be able to make that work,” Aylward said.

“So there is a strong commitment from Pfizer out there to be able to do that.”

Covax wanted to have a diverse portfolio of vaccines to offer and would evaluate “any product out there with demonstrated efficacy, safety, quality”, he added.

The vaccines developed by China and Russia could also be evaluated for inclusion “if they meet the standards for efficacy and safety”, he said.

A year into the pandemic, which has claimed more than 1.6 million lives worldwide, Aylward hailed the positive vaccine news over the past month.

“There is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. But while there was “a bright light at the end of it, getting brighter, it is a long tunnel.”

AFP

Israel Secures Six Million Doses Of Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine

This creative image taken in a studio in Paris on November 16, 2020, showing a syringe and a vaccine vial with the reproduced logo of a US biotech firm Moderna, illustrates the announcement of an experimental vaccine against Covid-19 from Moderna that would be nearly 95% effective, marking a second major step forward in the quest to end the Covid-19 pandemic. (Photo by JOEL SAGET / AFP)

 

Israel said on Friday it had signed a deal to buy six million Covid-19 vaccine doses from US biotech company Moderna that are expected to be delivered in 2021.

“Today we signed with Moderna for the supply of six million vaccines for you, citizens of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Twitter.

“This is triple the number of vaccines in the original contract,” he said, adding, “This gives us hope… We see the light at the end of the tunnel.”

The vaccine requires two doses, so the agreement would ensure that three million Israelis receive the Moderna vaccine, Netanyahu’s office said in a statement.

In mid-November, Netanyahu announced an agreement with US pharmaceuticals giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech to buy eight million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine for delivery in early 2021.

READ ALSO: Biden Asks Scientist Fauci To Join His COVID-19 Team

Moderna said Thursday it expects to have 100-125 million doses of its vaccine available in the first quarter of 2021.

Between 85 and 100 million of these doses will be reserved for the United States, and 15-25 million for the rest of the world, it added.

Israeli authorities imposed a second nationwide lockdown in September, when the country had one of the world’s highest novel coronavirus infection rates.

Restrictions have since been gradually eased.

Israel, a country of nine million, has officially reported more than 341,700 cases of infection, including about 2,900 virus deaths, since the start of its outbreak.

 

AFP