DUBAI – Moderna and Tabuk Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company, a fully owned subsidiary of Astra Industrial Group, a leading Saudi pharmaceuticals company, have announced a three-year partnership to commercialize the Moderna COVID-19 Vaccine and future variant-specific booster candidates in Saudi Arabia.

Under the terms of this agreement, Tabuk Pharmaceuticals will hold the marketing authorization for the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia. The contract, which is renewable, allows Tabuk the possibility to discuss opportunities to distribute other Moderna mRNA products if authorized in the future.

We appreciate the collaboration of Tabuk Pharmaceuticals in this new partnership in Saudi Arabia,” said Stéphane Bancel, Chief Executive Officer of Moderna.

Mohammed Alhagbani, President of Astra Industrial Group, said their partnership with Moderna was paramount to achieving their mission to deliver unique health solutions and preserve the lives of the Saudi nationals.

The World Health Organization approved Moderna’s vaccine for emergency use at the end of April, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the drug in December 2020.

Not so long ago, the US drug maker requested that the FDA approve the coronavirus shot for adolescents age 12 to 17.

Pfizer and BioNTech have had their shots cleared for use in 12 to 15-year old, and last week the UAE announced it would begin testing the China-made Sinopharm vaccine in adolescents.

Some Moderna recipients have reported heart problems, but the company said that scientific evidence it has reviewed doesn’t suggest that its Covid-19 vaccine was the cause of a heart condition.

The drug maker said in a statement that, after reviewing the available safety data on its shot for cases of myocarditis and pericarditis, it has not established a causal association with its vaccine.

Moderna said it will continue to closely monitor these reports and is actively working with public health and regulatory authorities to further assess this issue.

So far, the United Arab Emirates has recorded over 598 thousand cases and 1,726 deaths. The region has managed to fully immunize 39.35% of its population against coronavirus. The country has been heavily reliant on the Sinopharm vaccine for inoculation.

This partnership is set to boost supply and variety of COVID-19 vaccines available in Saudi Arabia and the UAE to bolster efforts of immunizing all those in risk groups as well as the general population.

UAE is among the countries which have been donating their surplus vaccines to countries in need. In April, the United Arab Emirates donated about 500,000 doses of vaccine to Philippines.