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Botswana pays equivalent of $15 a dose for Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine

Fri 30th July, 2021 5:06pm
GABORONE, July 30 (Reuters) - Botswana's health minister
said on Friday that the government was paying the equivalent of
$15 a dose for the COVID-19 vaccine developed by China's Sinovac
Biotech and almost $29 a dose for U.S. company Moderna's shot.
    African countries have struggled to procure enough vaccines
in the global scramble for doses, with coverage secured through
World Health Organization (WHO) and African Union (AU)-backed
schemes so far falling short of the continent's needs.
    Under pressure over a recent spike in COVID-19 infections,
health minister Edwin Dikoloti revealed how much the
diamond-rich southern African country was paying in bilateral
deals with pharmaceutical companies Sinovac  SVA.O , Moderna
 MRNA.O  and India's Bharat Biotech.
    Dikoloti said in an address to parliament that Botswana had
signed agreements to pay $3 million for 200,000 doses of the
Sinovac vaccine, $14.44 million for 500,000 doses of Moderna's
vaccine, and $1.6 million for 100,000 doses from Bharat Biotech.
The Bharat Biotech deal works out at $16 per shot.
    The minister added that the COVAX facility co-led by the WHO
had only delivered 82,000 doses despite an upfront payment the
government had made as a self-financing participant, hoping to
secure far more doses. 
    An AU arrangement is expected to deliver over 1.1 million
doses of Johnson & Johnson's  JNJ.N  vaccine in the third and
fourth quarters.
    Botswana has currently only fully vaccinated around 124,000
of its 2.3 million population.
    Apart from the shots it is paying for, the Indian government
donated 30,000 doses of the COVISHIELD vaccine manufactured by
the Serum Institute of India and China donated 200,000 doses of
Sinovac's vaccine. Botswana is still in talks with Pfizer
 PFE.N  about a possible 2 million dose deal, Dikoloti said.
    

 (Reporting by Brian Benza
Writing by Alexander Winning)
 ((alexander.winning@tr.com; +27 10 346 1076;))
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