Facing a wave of brutal coronavirus cases, India on Thursday made anyone over the age of 45 eligible for vaccination. But the scramble to vaccinate as many people as possible also means drastically reducing exports.
Why is it important: The hope of vaccinating the world falls to a large extent on India, which is a major vaccine producer and the location of the Serum Institute, the world’s largest producer.
- Until recently, India was still exporting most of its drugs, including donations to neighboring countries and other friendly countries, sales to countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, and contributions to the global COVAX program.
- Vaccines made in India have been sold to 82 countries.
- Then, after a long period of cessation, cases began to surge. They are now at their highest point since mid-October and continue to climb sharply.
- Vaccine exports, which have been increasing, have suddenly fallen sharply. The Serum Institute does not seem to supply medicines to the world, but almost all of its medicines are redistributed to the home.
Push the news: Government sources told Axios that India has not yet implemented an export ban and will continue to supply COVAX with doses. The source added, but taking into account “domestic demand”
- Another official bluntly said in an interview with Reuters: “At present, we are dealing with emergencies. No matter what we have, we will use it.” The official said.
- The official told Reuters that the government’s goal is to increase the vaccinations of at least 400 million people for the current 56 million people (only 4% of the population).
Pass the numbers: In the past three weeks, India has exported 6 million doses, of which less than 2 million doses were used in the COVAX program.
- This is down from 31 million in the previous three weeks, of which 16 million was used for COVAX
That was a serious setback COVAX vaccine, which is an important source of vaccines in low-income countries (especially in Africa).
- According to preliminary forecasts, COVAX expects that 71% of its first wave of distribution will consist of AstraZeneca doses produced by the Serum Institute.
- A spokesperson for the vaccine alliance Gavi said that shipments in March and April are expected to have been postponed, and COVAX is now “in negotiations with the Indian government to ensure that some supplies are completed within April.”
What to see: John Enkengasson, director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters on Thursday that if this were not just a temporary delay, it would be “catastrophic.” He said that Africa is likely to fail to reach the vaccination target this year.
Big picture: Currently, there are four main sources of vaccines in the world. The United States is the second largest producer after India, but it does not export at all.
- According to Airfinity, China is currently the largest producer and largest exporter, and it pays less attention to domestic promotion, partly because the virus is still under Chinese control.
- At the same time, the EU has exported about 40% of its supply so far, but it is engaged in a heated debate on whether and how to curb exports.