Dr Gagandeep Kang, a top virologist questioned India on their vaccine strategy and said that what makes us feel we can now enter the market and demand to buy the vaccine. All the other nations have been bulk buying the Covid vaccine doses and maintained their supply in case of a risk. How can India suddenly enter the International market?
Now that India as well wants to go and buy the vaccine, what are the chances of it being available for us? Other nations have all bought it in bulk, so how do we know that we have anything available for us, she asked.
These remarks come amidst the second wave and vaccine shortage. All the Indian states were to start their vaccine drive for those in the 18-45 years age group from May 1. But due to the shortage in the country, it was not possible and got delayed. States where the situation is worst, are now searching for vaccine doses owing to the risk of the third wave.
Kang further added that we can now go to Zydus Cadila, Biological E and all those that produced the vaccine and ask them to produce in bulk. We can tell them that India is ready to buy all the doses. We need to get more doses and this might be the way.
The vaccine drive in India started at a very slow pace. When the doses were being produced, the centre could’ve placed a bulk order but they didn’t. Instead, only 11 million doses were ordered from Serum Institute of India (SII) and 5.5 from Bharat Biotech. The immunization drive started on January 16 which focused on frontline workers, but after that, we didn’t have many doses left for other citizens.
Compared to India, other countries were bulk ordering and was making sure that the production was fast enough. India gave emergency use approval to two vaccines in the country, Covaxin and Covishield in January, but now it is facing a shortage and is importing Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.