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Qatar signs a deal to buy the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine

PHOTO: A sign marks the headquarters of Moderna Therapeutics, which is developing a vaccine against coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA, May 18, 2020. REUTERS / Brian Snyder / File Photo

DUBAI (Reuters) – Qatar has signed an agreement with drugmaker Moderna Inc to buy a potential vaccine against COVID-19 as soon as it is approved and released for global use, a state-run QNA news agency said on Sunday.

There are no internationally approved vaccines yet, but several are in advanced trials, including from Pfizer Inc, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna.

“Negotiating earlier and securing a number of agreements increases our chances of getting enough of the vaccine early,”

; said Abdulatif al-Khal, chairman of the national health group on COVID-19 and head of infectious diseases at Hamad Medical Corporation.

He did not say how many doses Doha wanted. Earlier this month, al-Hal said Qatar had signed an agreement with Pfizer and BioNTech to supply Qatar with their vaccines.

Moderna said last month that it is on track to produce 20 million doses of its vaccine by the end of the year, while maintaining its goal of preparing 500 million to 1 billion doses by 2021.

The US group is also working with the Swiss group Lonza AG to increase production and production of its potential vaccine COVID-19 for supply to markets outside the US.

Reporting by Yousef Saba; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Edited by Andrew Heaven

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