Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

Novavax says Taiwan has opted to get firm's COVID-19 vaccine via COVAX

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A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a "Coronavirus COVID-19 Vaccine" sticker and a medical syringe in front of displayed Novavax logo in this illustration taken, October 30, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

TAIPEI, July 2 (Reuters) - Taiwan has chosen to get the Novavax Inc (NVAX.O) COVID-19 vaccine via the COVAX global sharing scheme, the company said on Friday, which would add much needed shots to the island's immunisation programme.

Taiwan's vaccine orders include 4.76 million doses from COVAX, though so far it has only received slightly more than 600,000 from the scheme, all AstraZeneca PLC (AZN.L) shots.

Novavax, in an emailed statement, said it already had an agreement to supply its vaccine to the COVAX facility.

"Taiwan has opted to receive doses of NVX-CoV2373 through COVAX," it said, referring to the vaccine's name and without giving details.

Taiwan Health Minister Chen Shih-chung told reporters on Friday that apart from COVAX they were planning to talk about getting a "related quantity" direct from the company. He did not elaborate.

Taiwan has struggled to speed up its vaccination programme due to global supply shortages, with only around 8% of its 23.5 million people having received at least one of the two-dose vaccine regimen as it deals with a cluster of domestic infections.

Last month Japan donated 1.24 million AstraZeneca doses and the United States 2.5 million Moderna Inc (MRNA.O) doses to Taiwan to help speed up vaccinations.

Novavax said last month its COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective, including against a variety of concerning variants of the coronavirus in a large, late-stage U.S.-based clinical trial. read more

The study of nearly 30,000 volunteers in the United States and Mexico puts Novavax on track to file for emergency authorisation in the United States and elsewhere in the third quarter of 2021, the company said.

Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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