The GAVI alliance said on Monday it had signed two advance purchase agreements with Chinese drugmakers Sinopharm and Sinovac to provide up to 550 million Covid-19 vaccines to the COVAX programme.
The new deals include up to 170 million doses of the Sinopharm shot and up to 380 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine, through to the middle of 2022, the statement said. Sinovac confirmed the agreement in a statement.
"The agreements, which come at a time when the Delta variant is posing a rising risk to health systems, will begin to make 110 million doses immediately available to participants of the COVAX Facility, with options for additional doses," GAVI said in a statement.
COVAX, which distributes vaccines to poorer countries, has struggled to meet its early commitments amid Indian export disruptions, forcing many countries to freeze their inoculation programmes in their early phases.
However, its latest supply forecast shows that the programme is on track to deliver more than 2 billion doses by early 2022.