India Covid crisis had 'knock-on effect' on global vaccine need, says Gavi

New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaWritten By: Sidhant SibalUpdated: May 11, 2021, 01:32 PM IST


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A Gavi spokesperson told WION in a series of questions that India would receive 'between 190 and 250 million fully subsidised doses' of Covid vaccine as approved by the COVAX board

Gavi, or Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation, has said the current Covid crisis in India has had a "knock-on effect" on vaccine needs to the other parts of the world and expressed an understanding that it is "clear that Indian vaccine production" will be "committed to protecting its own citizens."

Gavi is co-leading the COVAX facility that is providing Covid vaccines to several countries. So far, COVAX has shipped over 59 million vaccines to 122 participants.

A Gavi spokesperson told WION's Sidhant Sibal that India would receive "between 190 and 250 million fully subsidised doses" of Covid vaccine as approved by the COVAX board. The Gavi brings together developed and developing countries, World Health Organization, UNICEF, the World Bank, vaccine manufacturers, and donor country governments. 

WION: How many vaccines COVAX will be giving to India? 

GAVI spokesperson: In December 2020, the COVAX Board agreed that India would receive approximately 20 per cent of the total doses available to AMC-eligible countries through the COVAX Facility – estimated at between 190 and 250 million fully subsidised doses – subject to vaccine prices and available funds. The country is also to receive 20 per cent of the total funding available to AMC-eligible countries for urgent technical assistance and cold chain equipment, or USD 30 million. Much of India's supply as it faces the latest coronavirus crisis is from the Serum Institute of India, which has received COVAX funding to increase production capacity. Some of the SII doses that India has received have been funded through the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (Gavi COVAX AMC).

WION: How has the crisis in India impacted its contribution to COVAX facilities? Can you tell us any number as to how many AstraZeneca vaccines were to be given to COVAX?

GAVI spokesperson: COVAX has secured access to over two billion doses of vaccines, however, because so much of our second-quarter supply was set to come from India there is no doubt that the current situation in India is having a knock-on effect in other parts of the world that desperately need vaccines. As we continue to broaden our portfolio, for example with the recent announcement with Moderna and Novavax, and others to follow in the coming days, we add to the likelihood that we will be able to catch up this quarter’s delays and meet our goal of delivering 2 billion doses in 2021. Our global supply forecast provides an up-to-date overview of the supply of safe and effective vaccines to the COVAX facility so that economies participating in COVAX have as much clarity as possible on when we expect the doses we have secured to start arriving. Our first priority is to help those countries that have received the first delivery receive enough doses to be able to administer a second shot. We know that there are doses available, and we urge those countries that have surpluses to share them with COVAX so we can protect the most vulnerable everywhere in the world. The move by Sweden to donate doses to COVAX, following other similar announcements by France, Sweden and New Zealand, will help us urgently meet our short-term supply needs. At this moment, if we are to avoid prolonging the crisis and allow further mutations to emerge, we absolutely need every spare dose to be given over to equitable access.

WION: By when do you expect India to start giving its share of supplies at the level pledged before the current crisis in the country?

GAVI spokesperson: As India confronts a truly dreadful wave of the pandemic, it is clear that Indian vaccine production – for the next month at least – will be committed to protecting its own citizens. We offer the government of India our full support in their efforts to bring the virus under control and stand ready to help in any way we can. In the meantime, we will continue to maintain an active dialogue with the government, as well as make progress towards our goal of diversifying both our portfolio of vaccines, as well as sources of vaccines.