EU seeks10m AstraZeneca vaccines from India to meet shortfall

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Growing pressure on Delhi to export more of its production to other countries as European Union has asked India to allow it to buy 10 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine from Serum Institute of India.

This is to offset supply shortfalls from AstraZeneca’s European plants and speed up the bloc’s vaccine roll-out.

Serum was originally supposed to produce the AstraZeneca vaccine only for low and medium-income countries.

The EU ambassador wrote a letter, saying, please give us (export) approvals,” said the source, adding the letter was sent around two weeks ago.

Serum, AstraZeneca and India’s foreign ministry did not respond to requests for comment. A spokeswoman for the EU Commission said the Commission had no immediate comment.

India more focused on expanding its own immunisation drive as COVID-19 cases have surged since March.

The network aims to secure COVID-19 vaccines primarily for dozens of poorer nations.Production glitches have slowed vaccinations for the 450 million people in the 27-nation EU.

The bloc’s per capita immunisation lags that of countries such as Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States, according to the website Our World in Data here

India has so far exported 64 million vaccine doses to 83 countries, and administered the same number of doses at home. Its inoculation drive expanded from Thursday to include everyone above the age of 45, which is expected to raise vaccine demand substantially.

India has reported 12.22 million cases of the coronavirus, the third highest number globally after the United States and Brazil. It has recorded nearly 163,000 deaths from COVID-19.

 

MTO/Reuters

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