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India could resume shipping vaccines to COVAX in a few weeks: Report

IBEF:  November 11, 2021

India could re-start deliveries of COVID-19 shots to global vaccine-sharing platform COVAX in a few weeks for the first time since April 2021 stated two health industry sources, concluding an interruption of supplies that has hurt 8 poor countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which co-leads COVAX, has been pushing India to resume supplies for the programme, particularly after it sent ~4 million doses to its neighbours and allies in October.

Based on an unofficial approval from India, COVAX officials have begun planning allocations of the Covishield shot for various countries, stated one of the sources.

Covishield is a licensed version of the AstraZeneca shot produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII).

SII has nearly increase fourfold its output of Covishield to ~240 million doses a month since April, when India halted all exports in order to vaccinate its own people during a surge of cases.

“There will need to be purchase orders validated to SII, labelling and packing, export approval granted for each of these shipments,” stated the source. “So the first supplies, assuming the Indian government permits export authorisation, won’t occur until a few weeks from now.” A WHO representative stated in an email that a new COVAX supply estimate would be published next week.

The ministry stated in a statement earlier in the day that Indian states had >159 million unutilised doses of various vaccines, as inoculations have decelerated after 79% of the country’s 944 million adults got one dose and 37% got two doses.

SII CEO Mr. Adar Poonawalla stated last month that the company could send 20-30 million doses a month to COVAX in November and December, which would improve to ‘large volumes’ from January once India’s own requirements were met.

WHO chief Mr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that COVAX had the money and the contracts to buy vaccines for low-income countries although ‘manufacturers have not played their part’.

COVAX in September cut its 2021 delivery target by ~30% to 1.425 billion doses.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.