SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 4 February 2023, Saturday |

India could ship vaccines to COVAX in a few weeks, say sources

India may resume deliveries of COVID-19 shots to the global vaccine-sharing platform COVAX in a few weeks for the first time since April, according to two health industry sources, putting an end to a supply halt that has harmed poor countries.

The World Health Organization (WHO), which co-leads COVAX, has urged India to re-start supplies for the program, particularly after it sent approximately 4 million doses to its neighbors and partners in October.

COVAX officials have begun planning allocations of the Covishield shot for various countries based on an informal approval from India, according to one of the sources, both of whom declined to be identified pending a final agreement.

Covishield is a licensed version of AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) shot manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.

SII has nearly quadrupled its Covishield output to up to 240 million doses per month since April, when India halted all exports to inoculate its own people during a spike in cases.

“For each of these shipments, purchase orders must be confirmed to SII, labeling and packing must be completed, and export authorization must be granted,” said the source. “Assuming the Indian government grants export authorization, the first deliveries will not take place for a few weeks.”

Covishield is a licensed version of AstraZeneca’s (AZN.L) shot manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer.

SII has nearly quadrupled its Covishield output to up to 240 million doses per month since April, when India halted all exports to inoculate its own people during a spike in cases.

“For each of these shipments, purchase orders must be confirmed to SII, labeling and packing must be completed, and export authorization must be granted,” said the source. “Assuming the Indian government grants export authorization, the first deliveries will not take place for a few weeks.”

On Friday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that COVAX had the funds and contracts to purchase vaccines for low-income countries, but that “manufacturers have not played their part.”

COVAX reduced its 2021 delivery target by nearly 30% to 1.425 billion doses in September.

    Source:
  • Reuters