GENEVA: The GAVI alliance announced on Monday that it had signed two advance purchase agreements with Chinese pharmaceutical companies Sinopharm and Sinovac to supply the COVAX programme with up to 550 million COVID-19 vaccines. The deals include up to 170 million doses of the Sinopharm vaccine and up to 380 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine, through to the middle of 2022, the statement said. Sinovac confirmed the agreement in a statement. “The agreements, which come at a time when the Delta variant is posing a rising risk to health systems, will begin to make 110 million doses immediately available to participants of the COVAX Facility, with options for additional doses,” GAVI said in a statement. Due to Indian export disruptions, COVAX, which distributes vaccines to poorer countries, has struggled to meet its early commitments, forcing many countries to halt their inoculation programmes in their early stages. However, the programme is on track to deliver more than 2 billion doses by early 2022, according to the most recent supply forecast.