22:20 GMT03 March 2021
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The COVAX Facility, the World Health Organization-led (WHO) COVID-19 vaccine procurement and distribution initiative, is poised to deliver 150 million doses of vaccines against the disease in the first quarter of 2021, Seth Berkley, the CEO of the GAVI vaccine alliance, said.

    The statement followed the conclusion of several supply agreements on Friday.

    "We face the prospect of very soon being able to deliver … nearly 150 million doses in the first quarter of the year via a global equitable access initiative. This has been made possible by a collective effort by the international community that has helped COVAX raise over $6 billion and secure access to over 2 billion doses," Berkley said at a press conference.

    In a press release published later in the evening, the COVAX Facility said that it will exercise an option to receive 100 million doses of the AstraZeneca/University of Oxford vaccine produced by the Serum Institute of India under the brand name Covishield.

    COVAX noted that this supply agreement was subject to the WHO granting the vaccine emergency use approval.

    A further 50 million doses of the AstraZeneca/University of Oxford vaccine are also expected to be made available in line with prior agreements, the vaccine initiative said.

    During the press briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also announced that COVAX has struck a deal with Pfizer/BioNTech for up to 40 million doses of their vaccine against the coronavirus disease.

    The WHO is expected to make a decision on Covishield's approval in mid-February, according to documents published by the organization.


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