Kazakhstan signs preliminary agreement with Pfizer for COVID-19 vaccine

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NUR-SULTAN (Reuters) - Authorities in Kazakhstan said on Monday they had signed a preliminary agreement with Pfizer to potentially buy the vaccine it developed with its partner BioNTech against COVID-19.

"Today we signed a non-disclosure agreement with Pfizer, and we are ready to deal with the supplies of these vaccines on the territory of Kazakhstan by issuing special permits," Deputy Health Minister Marat Shoranov said.

"Everything will depend on the production capacity and the company's ability to supply the drug to our country."

Kazakhstan has started producing Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19, Russia's RDIF sovereign wealth fund said last week.

Since the start of the pandemic, the Central Asian country of more than 18 million has reported 152,460 infections and 2,196 deaths.

(Reporting by Tamara Vaal in Nur-Sultan, Mariya Gordeyeva in Almaty and Maria Kiselyova in Moscow; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Louise Heavens)