Moderna’s Jab Likely in 2022; Pfizer Has 5 Crore Doses for India
US pharmaceutical giant Moderna is expecting to launch a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine in India by 2022.
According to sources, US pharmaceutical giant Moderna is expecting to launch a single-dose COVID-19 vaccine in India by 2022 and is in talks with Indian companies, including Cipla, for the same, PTI reported on Wednesday, 29 May.
Meanwhile, US firm Pfizer is ready to offer 5 crore shots in 2021 but has demanded significant regulatory relaxations, including indemnification in return, sources said on Tuesday.
The sources added that Moderna has conveyed its lack of ready vaccine surplus to Indian authorities and stated that there are negligible prospects of Johnson & Johnson exporting its doses to other countries in the near future.
Last week, two rounds of high-level meetings over vaccine availability in global and domestic markets were chaired by the Cabinet Secretary. This comes amid an acute vaccine shortage and an alarming second wave of COVID-19 in the country.
Officials from the Ministry of External Affairs, NITI Aayog, Department of Biotechnology, Law Ministry and Health Ministry attended the meeting.
Cipla has reportedly already indicated an interest in procuring 5 crore Moderna doses from next year and has urged confirmation from the Union government over stable regulatory requirements and policies, PTI reported.
A per the report, the Union Health Ministry been asked to make a quick decision in view of Cipla’s request for support in procuring Moderna vaccines.
What Has Pfizer Said
The US-based manufacturer has reportedly expressed that they have 5 crore vaccine doses available to supply to India this year. However, the firm, which plans to supply 1 crore doses in July, 1 crore in August, 2 crore in September, and 1 crore in October, has indicated that it will only enter into a transaction with the Government of India, PTI reported.
Subsequently, the central government will arrange for further domestic channelisation of vaccines.
Pfizer has also sought relaxations in regulatory policies, including an easing in the requirement of post-approval bridging trials and dispensing the requirement of testing their vaccines in CDL (Central Drugs Laboratory), PTI reported.
Similar arrangements have been done with other countries in the world and in view of the health crisis, a decision may be taken to indemnify the company, officials said. However, it was reportedly stated that this decision would impact deliberations with other vaccine companies in a similar way, leading to more demands of indemnification.
As per Pfizer’s records, around 116 countries globally, including the USA, have signed the indemnification form.
It was suggested that a decision on the issue of Pfizer Inc may be taken at the earliest and that the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) may hold a meeting immediately on these issues.
What the Centre Said
Health Ministry Joint Secretary Lav Agarwal on Monday had addressed a press conference and responded to a question on the states facing difficulties in procuring vaccines from Moderna and Pfizer. He said, “Whether it is Pfizer or Moderna, at the Centre-level, we have been coordinating with them.”
“Also, the order book of both Pfizer and Moderna is full so it depends on their surplus that how much they can provide in India…they will come back to the Centre, and we will help in facilitation to states,” he added, PTI reported.
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