Health ministry seeks 5 cr free Covishield doses from GAVI under COVAX, Health News, ET HealthWorld

Health ministry seeks 5 cr free Covishield doses from GAVI under COVAX

The Union health ministry has asked global vaccine alliance GAVI to supply 5 crore of the allocated 10 crore doses of Covishield to India under the COVAX facility free of cost, official sources said on Friday.

Amid rising cases of coronavirus in the country, the government from Friday started providing precaution doses free of cost to those aged 18 years and above for the next 75 days under the ‘COVID vaccination Amrit Mahostava’.

According to an official source, Prakash Kumar Singh, director (government and regulatory affairs) at Serum Institute of India, had written a letter to the health ministry in April for use of 10 crore doses of Covishield offered free of cost by GAVI.

“As Covid cases are rising again in our country, using this immediately available 100 million (10 crore) free of cost Covishield vaccine doses by GAVI for our citizens at the earliest would be beneficial in controlling the upsurge of COVID-19. This will play a crucial role in taking forward the world’s largest vaccination drive under visionary leadership of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi Ji towards its successful completion,” Singh is learnt to have mentioned in his letter to ministry in April.

Pune-based SII had stated that if these 10 crore free doses of Covishield are not taken by the Indian government timely, it will lead to wastage of the life saving vaccines amid the pandemic outbreak.

According to sources, after utilisation of 5 crore doses of Covishield, the requirement will be reviewed and if needed, GAVI will be asked to supply the remaining 5 crore doses.

Gavi, the vaccine alliance, is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases.

It is coordinating the COVAX Facility, which provides governments with the opportunity to benefit from a large portfolio of COVID-19 candidate vaccines using a range of technology platforms, produced by more manufacturers across the world, with a bigger market to provide security of demand.

So far 75 higher-income economies have formally committed to join the facility, in addition to the 92 low- and middle-income economies that are eligible for support from the Gavi COVAX AMC.

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