US mulls joint production of Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine with India

WION Web Team
Washington, United StatesUpdated: May 12, 2021, 01:00 PM IST

Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine (file photo). Photograph:(Reuters)

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Smith has claimed the AstraZeneca coronavirus doses will not be passed on till the FDA approves them in the safety check

The US is eyeing joint production of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine with India, aiming to ramp up production of the jabs.

US chargé d’affaires Daniel Smith has revealed that the US government is in talks with its Indian counterpart to arrange the raw materials — listed by India — needed to manufacture the vaccines. However, he has also cautioned that this will not be an easy task as the global supply chains are currently disrupted all over the world.

"We are now working closely with them to go through this list to decide what is available, what we can provide and how quickly we can provide that. I just want to say this is not an easy task, that is, there are global challenges in the global supply chain right now when it comes to precursors and raw materials necessary for these vaccines,"  Smith said.

He also clarified that in addition to eyeing a joint production of the J&J vaccine with India, the US government is also working with Serum Institute of India (SII) and a few other vaccine manufacturers to increase the speed and quantity of vaccines being produced amid a covid crisis in the South Asian country.

"I know [the US International] Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is looking at how we can invest so that we can help produce the Johnson & Johnson vaccine here in India," he said.

The US is also urging several private sector discussions to increase the manufacturing of vaccines.

"I think we are watching carefully the production levels at the SII and elsewhere. We’ve been in close touch with the SII to try to determine what raw materials we could provide, and assistance that we can provide to help boost production. But that’s an issue with vaccines across the board, it’s not simply with the AstraZeneca vaccine in that regard," he was quoted by an Indian newspaper, Hindustan Times.

He also addressed the issue of the US holding on to a few doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine. He has claimed the doses will not be passed on till the FDA approves them in the safety check.

"I know that there are a number of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine that were made in the plant outside of Baltimore, but there were problems with this plant. So far, the FDA hasn’t certified that these vaccines are available for anyone’s use, for export or not. So I can’t say when that will happen or what will be done exactly as we go forward," he said.