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UPDATE 1-Moderna CEO says world faces 2022 COVID vaccine production surplus

(Recasts, adds detail)

GENEVA, April 23 (Reuters) - Manufacturers should focus on producing as many vaccines as possible this year, but the world faces a potential surplus next year in capacity, Moderna’s CEO said on Friday.

Speaking at a virtual event on vaccine manufacturing, Stephane Bancel said that additional technology transfers might dent their ability to meet production targets. Moderna is on track to make up to 1 billion doses this year and 1.4 billion next year, he said.

“Next year there is going to be way too many vaccines for people on the planet,” he said.

He added that Moderna was working hard to have a booster vaccine against COVID-19 variants approved by the northern hemisphere late summer or early autumn.

Bancel, asked about shortages of workers at the Lonza factory at Visp in the Swiss canton of Valais, which has a licence to make ingredients for its COVID-19 vaccine, but was confident that Lonza would close the gap there soon.

He also said that Moderna was in talks with the COVAX vaccine-sharing facility which is providing doses to lower income countries, adding: “I hope we are in the final stretch to get an agreement with COVAX.”

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Emma Farge

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