BEIJING — China’s two major COVID-19 vaccine makers have signed agreements to provide up to 550 million doses to COVAX, the U.N.-backed program that aims to deliver vaccines to poor countries and others that need them.
Gavi, the vaccine partnership playing a leading role in COVAX, announced that it would buy 110 million doses from Sinopharm and Sinovac between now and October. In addition, it has the option to buy 440 million more doses by mid-2022.
The World Health Organization has approved the companies’ vaccines for emergency use. Their inactivated vaccines are already in widespread use in China and in many other countries.
Inactivated vaccines are made with killed coronavirus. Most other COVID vaccines in use, particularly in the West, are made with newer technologies that target the “spike” protein that coats the surface of the virus.