A nurse prepares the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, at a vaccination center, in Sarcelles near Paris on January 10, 2021.

ALAIN JOCARD | AFP | Getty Images

Pfizer will supply up to 40 million doses of its coronavirus vaccine to a global alliance aiming to provide poor nations with coronavirus vaccines, the head of the World Health Organization said on Friday.

The deal will allow Covax — co-led by the WHO — to begin delivering vaccine doses to participating countries in February, WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press briefing.

The Covax program aims to provide 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines to participating countries, which includes low- to-middle income nations, by the end of this year. The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine requires two shots spread weeks apart, indicating the agreement would cover just 20 million people.

Tedros said the agreement would also allow other countries with supplies of Pfizer’s vaccine to donate them to the program. The WHO chief has been critical of wealthy nations that have signed supply agreements with drugmakers for their initial doses of Covid-19 vaccines, stockpiling supplies away from poorer nations.

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said during the press briefing that the company will provide the doses of vaccine to Covax and the poorer nations at a cost. Pfizer was the first company to receive a global emergency use listing for its vaccine from the WHO, allowing other countries to expedite their regulatory approval processes to begin administering the vaccine.

This is a developing story. Please check back later for updates.