Centre unveils plans of vaccine supply amid shortage, in talks with 3 global Covid-19 vaccine manufacturers
As India continues to grapple ongoing catastrophic second Covid wave with crippling shortage of Coronavirus vaccine, Centre has shared its global talks for vaccine supply. For the first time the Government of India has relayed that it is in talks with three global Covid-19 manufacturers – Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson – to supply their vaccines to India. However, as conveyed by these companies and reiterated by Centre on Thursday, the open discussions around vaccine supply would only be possible by Q3 of 2021. But the companies have estimated that over 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines could be made available to India between September and December this year.
Dr. V.K. Paul, Head of India’s Covid-19 task force said, “We have contacted manufacturers and sought information on the availability of vaccine for August-December… In this period, 216 crore doses would become available in India. The vaccine will be made available for all as we move forward.”
Dr Paul added that government has approached the three big firms formally to supply vaccines to India, and assured them of every assistance in this direction. “From the beginning, the Department of Biotechnology and Ministry of External Affairs together have been in touch with Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson. It is still ongoing,” Paul said. “We had formally asked them (the pharma companies), and also held a discussion. We asked them: ‘Would you please want to send doses to India; please would you like to manufacture in India?’ We told them that we would find partners and would assist them. We also asked them if they want to do fill and finish,” he added.
Paul said that it is hoped Pfizer, Moderna and J&J would be sharing vaccine manufacturing technology with manufacturers in India to boost local production of vaccine. “This is happening at the highest diplomatic channels. We also invite them that they should manufacture their vaccines in India; we also hope if they can undertake a technology transfer. India will support in every possible way,” he said.
Centre has said that for ongoing vaccination drive in India, 7.30 crore doses would be made available in May. 1.27 crore of these doses are being procured directly by the states and are currently in pipeline and other 80 lakhs are being procured by the private hospitals across states.