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India places order for 300 million doses of unapproved vaccine

Jack Arthur

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Photo via Gwydion M. Williams from Flickr.

India signed an order yesterday for 300 million doses of an unnamed Indian vaccine that will cost US $205-206 million.

The currently untitled vaccine comes from the Indian firm Biological E, which is in Phase 3 trials. The vaccine has shown “promising results” in the first two phases, says the government.

From the government:

The arrangement with Biological-E is part of the wider endeavour of the government of India to encourage indigenous vaccine manufacturers by providing them support in research & development and also financial support.

This is the first order India has signed for that has not been given emergency approval.

Despite declining infections, the country continues to add 100,000 cases a day. Thus, the country is still under enormous pressure to inoculate its inhabitants.

To date: India has given slightly more than 220 million vaccinations, despite its nearly 1.4 billion population being eligible for the vaccine. Under 10% of the country’s population has received 1 dose, mainly from a shortage of doses. 4.7% of the population have received both doses necessary.

India also has the third highest death toll from Covid-19 at 337,989, behind Brazil, and the USA. However, experts peg India’s death toll as a gross underestimation.

Internally, India has been highly critical of its slow rollout of the vaccine. New Dehli’s High Court even went so far as to suggest that government officials should be charged with manslaughter.

As one political commentator says:

This government has failed. And failed its people miserably.

A reluctance to get vaccinated has also been cited as a reason behind surging Covid cases in the country.

Currently, India is administering 3 vaccines: Covishield, from the Serum Institute of India, Covaxin, from the Indian firm Bharat Biotech and the government’s Indian Council of Medical Research, as well as Sputnik V, which comes from Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute.

SOURCE: BBC Reuters

 

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