The Gavi vaccine alliance is in talks with Bharat Biotech over potential procurement of the company’s Covaxin COVID-19 shot for the COVAX global vaccine distribution programme, a Gavi spokesperson told Reuters recently.
“We are in discussion with (Bharat Biotech) as we consider the overall needs of the COVAX portfolio in 2022. However, we have no agreement for supply of Covaxin to COVAX at this time,” the spokesperson said in an email.
The World Health Organization (WHO) in November gave Covaxin, India’s first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine, approval for emergency use. Three of the 10 vaccines the global agency has approved are mass-produced in India.
About 180 million Covaxin doses have been administered in India and more than three million doses have been exported or donated.
Gavi said it was also working with the Serum Institute of India (SII) to start supplying the Novavax vaccine to COVAX. Gavi has a firm order commitment for 300 million doses of the shot, with options for an additional 700 million doses.
The SII has stockpiled tens of millions of doses of the Novavax shot, which it calls Covovax, and has shipped more than nine million doses of the drug to Indonesia in bilateral deals.
The SII is also a big supplier of the AstraZeneca vaccine to India and COVAX.
India, which resumed vaccine exports in October after stopping shipments in April to inoculate its own citizens, has so far donated or sold more than one billion doses in total.
The world’s biggest vaccine-making country has capacity to produce about five billion COVID-19 vaccine doses a year.
Edits by EP News Bureau