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Pfizer Engaging With Indian Govt to Potentially Roll Out Vaccine

The vaccine will be a challenge for India as it needs to be stored at -70 degrees.

Updated
India
2 min read
The United Kingdom has become the<a href="https://fit.thequint.com/coronavirus/vaccine-treatment/uk-approves-pfizers-covid-vaccine-rollout-from-next-week"> first country </a>to approve the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for rollout from ‘next week’, reported news agency AFP on Wednesday, 2 December.
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As the UK becomes the first country to give emergency approval to the US-based firm Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine, the company has expressed its commitment to engage with the Indian government regarding its launch in the country, Times of India reported.

In an interview with TOI, Pfizer spokeswoman Roma Nair said that, “We are committed to advance our dialogue with the Indian government. We are working with governments across the world to understand the infrastructure requirements of each country and we have, and logistics plans in place. We are confident the rollout can be managed.”

Experts say that the vaccine can be a challenge for India as it requires storage at -70 degrees.

NK Ganguly, the former director general of Indian Council of Medical Research has also informed that the launch of the vaccine “looks unfeasible” and “India has not booked or created the infrastructure for ultra-cold storage and distribution of the vaccine.”

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While the UK has ordered 40 million doses of the vaccine, the US and EU have also used advance purchase agreements and pre-ordered 100 million and 200 million doses of the vaccine respectively.

India does not have an advance purchase agreement with Pfizer yet. “The price is beyond the Indian range of affordability,” Ganguly said.

Times of India has reported that the cost of getting a jab could be up to $40-50 (Rs 2,950 to 3,700), making it only available to rich, ‘developed’ countries.

However, Pfizer has also been in talks with Gavi, the vaccine alliance, that claims they “have temperature-controlled shippers utilising dry ice to maintain recommended storage conditions up to 10 days.”

Their intent, they claim “is to utilise Pfizer-strategic transportation partners to ship by air to major hubs within a country/region and by ground transport to dosing locations.”

(With inputs from TOI)

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