Business Standard

Moderna keeps Covid jabs out of reach of poor

Poorer nations made to pay more, wait for longer than the wealthy


Moderna, whose coronaviru­s vaccine appears to be the world’s best defense against Covid-19, has been supplying its shots almost exclusivel­y to wealthy nations, keeping poorer countries waiting and earning billions in profit.

After developing a breakthrou­gh vaccine with the financial and scientific support of the

US government, Moderna has shipped a greater share of its doses to wealthy countries than any other vaccine manufactur­er, according to Airfinity, a data firm that tracks vaccine shipments.

About one million doses of

Moderna’s vaccine have gone to countries that the World Bank classifies as low income. By contrast, 8.4 million Pfizer doses and about 25 million single-shot

Johnson & Johnson doses have gone to those countries.

Of the handful of middleinco­me countries that have reached deals to buy Moderna’s shots, most have not yet received any doses, and at least three have had to pay more than the United

States or European Union did, according to government officials in those countries. Thailand and

Colombia are paying a premium. Botswana’s doses are late. Tunisia couldn’t get in touch with Moderna.

Unlike Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Astrazenec­a, which have diverse rosters of drugs and other products, Moderna sells only the Covid vaccine. The Massachuse­tts company’s future hinges on the commercial success of its vaccine.

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