Botswana’s P40m Moderna Deal could be at Risk

  • Report says Moderna has neglected poor countries
  • Botswana paid P40m for 500K doses in June
  • Authoritative New York Times says poor coutries pay more for Moderna vacccines


The government’s P40 million deal with US vaccine manufacturer, Moderna, for 500 000 COVID-19 doses faces the risk of collapse after a report exposed that the company has supplied most, if not all, of its shots exclusively to wealthy nations, The Botswana Gazette has established.

A report published by The New York Times last week revealed that lower income countries are paying more and waiting longer than rich and wealthy nations for the Moderna vaccine that is currently viewed as the world’s best defence against COVID-19. The report was compiled in collaboration with a US science data firm called Airfinity.
“About one million doses of Moderna’s vaccine have gone to countries that the World Bank classifies as low income,” reads the report in The New York Times. 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 middle-income 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 the European Union did, according to government officials in those countries.”

In responding to the allegations raised, Moderna executives have stated that they were doing all within their powers to produce as many doses as possible and more quickly but noted that their production capacity remains limited. “All of the doses they produce this year are filling existing orders from governments like the European Union,” the US publication further stated.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Edwin Dikoloti told Parliament last July that the government had entered into an agreement with Moderna for 500 000 doses for which it had paid US$4,332,000 (approximately P43 million) in June.

International medical experts say Moderna may be not be able to deliver shots to countries such as Botswana until the end of 2022. Minister Dikoloti could not be contacted at the time of going to press.

Additional reporting by LETLHOGILE MPUANG