Vials labelled "AstraZeneca, Pfizer - Biontech, Johnson&Johnson, Sputnik V coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine" are seen in this illustration Photograph:( Reuters )
As of now only three vaccines have been given authorisation in India, namely Covishield (produced by Serum Institute of India), Covaxin (produced by Bharat Biotech) and Russia's Sputnik V
This development has come even as India has been trying to increase the production of vaccines for its population and for export.
"We are also part of the discussions with major vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna about sourcing and possible local manufacturing of their vaccines in India. We have also helped to expedite the introduction of Sputnik-V vaccines," Shringla said while speaking at World Health Organization's "South-East Asia Regional Health Partners' Forum on COVID-19".
As of now only three vaccines have been given authorisation in India, namely Covishield (produced by Serum Institute of India), Covaxin (produced by Bharat Biotech) and Russia's Sputnik V. Last month, India received the first few batches of Suptink V vaccines — which will be also produced by Indian companies.
He also mentioned that India is "working with several other countries in the WTO on a targeted and temporary waiver under TRIPS to ensure timely and secure access to vaccines for all".
India and South Africa had given a proposal for wavier on Covid vaccine patent at the WTO which will help in mass production of the vaccines for the world. After the US extended its support to the vaccine waiver, the West has been able to fight its hesitations against this. Earlier in the week, BRICS became the first multilateral block to extend support to the proposal.
Shringla also said that New Delhi looks forward to the World Health Organization (WHO) giving approval to India's indigenous vaccine manufactured by Bharat Biotech, Covaxin. Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech submitted an application to the WHO for Emergency Use Listing (EUL) on April 19 and a pre-submission meeting will take place in June.
He highlighted how amid the pandemic, which he termed as a "Black Swan event", the ministry of external affairs "had to innovate, to repurpose and to re-engineer and create an entirely new vertical for pandemic diplomacy." He explained that the "Ministry and our network of diplomatic posts played a key role in organising the 'Vande Bharat Mission' — the largest logistical exercise of its kind ever undertaken." The Vande Bharat Mission facilitated the movement of seven million people through lockdown and post-lockdown periods.
The ministry as the "global arm of the Government of India’s Empowered Group" procured raw materials during the crisis. During the April to August 2020 period, 91 cargo flights brought in ventilators, PPE kits, test kits, etc. from across the globe to meet the domestic demand.