The GAVI vaccine alliance is in talks with Chinese drugmaker Sinovac Biotch to expand the COVAX dose-sharing portfolio available to poor countries following the World Health Organization’s approval of its COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, a GAVI spokesperson said.
“Gavi, on behalf of the COVAX Facility, is in dialogue with several manufacturers, including Sinovac, to expand and diversify the portfolio further and secure access to additional doses for Facility participants,” she said on Wednesday.
The COVAX global vaccine-sharing program said Thursday it needs $2.0 billion in additional funding by the beginning of June in order to boost coronavirus inoculation programs in lower-income countries.
“We need an additional $2 billion to lift coverage... up to nearly 30 percent, and we need it by June 2 to lock in supplies now so that doses can be delivered through 2021, and into early 2022,” the mechanism’s organizers -- which include the World Health Organization and the Gavi alliance -- said in a statement.
COVAX last week said it has already delivered 70 million vaccine doses to 126 countries, but faces a shortfall of 190 million at the end of June because of the “severe impact on COVAX’s supply in the second quarter of this year... (from) the terrible surge of the virus in India”.
India’s Serum Institute is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, producing 1.5 billion doses a year even before the coronavirus pandemic hit.