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UPDATE 1-Pfizer, BioNTech make huge pledge to address COVID vaccine inequality

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BRUSSELS, May 21 (Reuters) - Pfizer and BioNTech pledged on Friday to deliver 1 billion doses of their COVID-19 vaccine to poorer nations this year and another 1 billion next year, the boss of Pfizer said.

The pledge could significantly address the unequal distribution across the world of COVID-19 vaccines, which have so far been sold disproportionately more to richer countries.

“Pfizer and BioNTech are pledging to provide 2 billion doses of our COVID-19 vaccines to middle- and low-income countries over the next 18 months,” Albert Bourla told a global health summit.

Bourla said that low-income countries would be offered the vaccines at cost, while middle-income nations would pay about half the price of wealthier nations, which are estimated to have paid around 20 dollars per dose.

“We expect to provide 1 billion of these doses to low- and middle-income countries this year. And we pledge to deliver another 1 billion doses to these countries in 2022,” Bourla said.

Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio; Editing by Alex Richardson and Giles Elgood

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