A multimillion-dollar vaccine contract for the world’s largest manufacturer of vaccines was awarded on Thursday to the manufacturer of a new polio-fighting drug, Pfizer, and not to Merck, the state of Maryland announced.
Vice President Joe Biden said he would personally send each country that will receive vaccine doses from Merck two more doses from Pfizer, which won the contract. In his remarks, Mr. Biden announced the creation of a separate new fund by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to pay for 100 million doses, at an average cost of $95 each, of the new Merck drug RVSV-HPV.
The new vaccine is designed to prevent human papillomavirus, which causes cervical cancer and a type of vulvar cancer that can be left untreated.
“Today, the partnership between the Gates Foundation and the Inter-American Development Bank to harness new, effective and affordable vaccines is making a real difference around the world,” Mr. Biden said.
Mr. Biden and Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation Robert Millikin signed an agreement establishing the new $100 million fund.
Pfizer’s Dynavax unit is also the developer of Gardasil, the world’s most popular preventative shot for the sexually transmitted disease HPV.