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India to get 97 million vaccine doses from COVAX

The tranche to be made available to India will be manufactured and supplied by the Serum Institute of India.

India is likely to get nearly 97 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, nearly half of it by March end, under an agreement with the international COVAX facility. This is subject to the vaccine getting a pre-clearance from the World Health Organization (WHO) under a process called Emergency Use Listing.

The tranche to be made available to India will be manufactured and supplied by the Serum Institute of India. The latter has an agreement with Covax — a joint undertaking of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, Global Alliance for Vaccines (GAVI) and the WHO to ensure that at least 20% of the population in Low and Middle Income Countries are vaccinated over the year.

This initial set of doses, expected to be provided until June, is a part of an emergency supply to ensure that 3% of population in the countries, that is, the most vulnerable and healthcare workers, are vaccinated first. Other suppliers are AstraZeneca (96 million doses) and Pfizer BioNTech (1.2 million doses).

India has so far inoculated a little over 4 million healthcare workers with either Covishield or Covaxin.

“This release will help countries continue their preparations for vaccine distribution by providing them with details of the type of vaccine each country will receive in the first and second quarters,” Henrietta Fore, Executive Director, UNICEF, which is associated with the programme, said in a statement. “This is, of course, just an initial tranche of COVAX vaccines. More will follow. We will continue to work on the supply agreements to meet the needs of the COVAX vaccine requirements for the first half of 2021.”

The larger agreement involves sourcing nearly a billion doses of vaccine at $3 per dose for 100 countries. SII is expected to manufacture the AstraZeneca vaccine as well as one by Novavax, which has this week reported 89% efficacy in its Phase-3 trials in the United Kingdom. – The Hindu

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