Switzerland First to Give Covax Priority With Moderna Doses
(Bloomberg) -- Switzerland has become the first and only country so far to swap places in the vaccine supply queue with the global distribution program known as Covax, expediting the delivery of a small number of Moderna Inc. doses to lower-income nations.
Covax will get access to 1 million doses of the Moderna vaccine that were originally headed to Switzerland before the end of the year, according to a statement Wednesday from the vaccine alliance Gavi. Switzerland will then take Covax’s spot and receive the doses later in 2022.
Wealthy countries with ample vaccine supplies have been slow to respond to calls from the World Health Organization and others to give up their places in line and accelerate donations. Partners in the Covax program said they hope other countries that have sufficient doses will follow Switzerland, where about two-thirds of the population is fully vaccinated.
Hobbled by production delays, export bans and moves by wealthy countries to protect their citizens first, Covax in September cut its 2021 supply forecast by about 25%. Despite those setbacks, deliveries are picking up, rising to more than 500 million doses to 144 countries, Gavi said.
Moderna’s vaccine has been out of reach for many countries since it was authorized in the U.S. in December 2020. Covax has delivered only 70 million doses of the shot so far. That includes about 57 million donated doses from the U.S. and Canada, according to Gavi.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.