The first of many millions of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine doses have begun arriving in low and middle-income countries across the world through the multilateral COVAX initiative.
It marks an early step in the company’s efforts to provide access to the vaccine.
First COVAX shipments were dispatched late last week to Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire. More are due to begin arriving this week in countries including the Philippines, Indonesia, Fiji, Mongolia, and Moldova. This supply represents the first Covid-19 vaccine for many of these countries.
Further shipments will arrive in the coming weeks to supply a total of 142 countries with hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine in the coming months. The majority of these doses, manufactured by AstraZeneca and its license partner Serum Institute of India, will go to low and middle-income countries.
The vaccine is undergoing trials in the U.S. Neighboring Canada, and Mexico have approved the vaccine. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the emergency use of a one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
AstraZeneca employs 1,500 in Delaware.
Pascal Soriot, CEO, Astra Zeneca, said: “These first steps towards fulfilling our broad, equitable and no-profit emergency response to the pandemic mean millions of people, irrespective of their country’s income level, will soon be protected against this deadly virus. This is a moment of great pride for us at AstraZeneca, and I am extremely grateful to our partners, including Gavi, CEPI, and Oxford University, for their hard work and dedication to make this humanitarian ideal a reality for many millions of people around the world.”
Vaccine shipments have been allocated according to the COVAX Allocation Framework, which determines volume per participating country based on a number of factors, including country readiness, national regulatory authorizations, and national vaccination plans in place. The supply through COVAX follows the recent Emergency Use Listing by the World Health Organization (WHO) for active immunization in individuals 18 years of age and older, which provides a vital and accelerated pathway to enable supply.
AstraZeneca was the first global pharmaceutical company to join COVAX in June 2020.
The vaccine can be stored, transported, and handled at normal refrigerated conditions (36-46 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least six months and administered within existing healthcare settings.
COVID-19 Vaccine AstraZeneca was co-invented by the University of Oxford and its spin-out company, Vaccitech. It uses a replication-deficient chimpanzee viral vector based on a weakened version of a common cold virus that causes infections in chimpanzees and contains the genetic material of the SARS-CoV-2 virus spike protein. After vaccination, the surface spike protein is produced, priming the immune system to attack the SARS-CoV-2 virus if it later infects the body.
In total, Oxford University and AstraZeneca expect to enroll up to 60,000 participants globally.