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Friday, March 26, 2021

Boosting Vaccine Supply — India’s Job (The Economic Times)

Quick takes, analyses and macro-level views on all contemporary economic, financial and political events.


Domestic demand for Covid vaccines is set to ratchet up, as a larger population cohort comprising anyone 45 years of age or older turns eligible for the shot. India and the US are the largest manufacturers of Covid-19 vaccines, and India must step up its capacity to meet rising domestic and international demand. Curtailing exports for the time being will make more vaccines available for domestic needs but does nothing to augment global supplies. Putting unused capacity to produce vaccines is the fastest way to raise output, while removing restrictions on export of vaccine inputs imposed by the US.



India has supplied 60.5 million doses of the vaccines to some 80 countries, including 17.7 million doses through the Covax facility for low-income countries. The government has already asked Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech to increase production. SII is manufacturing 60 million doses a month, and Bharat Biotech four million. Both companies have said they are going to raise production — SII to 100 million a month, and Bharat Biotech to 20 million.


The government must ensure fast evaluation of trial data of other vaccine candidates and smoothen the process of approval. It can, and must, facilitate transfer of know-how to companies with vaccine production facilities but without vaccines of their own. If intellectual property rights (IPRs) stand in the way, the government must buy out the IPR and make vaccine know-how available for free as a global public good.


The US has invoked a Korean War-era law, the Defence Production Act, to restrict the export of vaccine inputs, to increase domestic availability. This, in turn, has made specialised bags and filters, cell culture media, single-use tubing and specialised chemicals scarce, and slowed down vaccine production. Apart from asking the US to lift such export bans, India could also look at developing substitute sources for these items. India must increase its supply of Covid vaccines, rather than restrict exports. The world depends on it: the less well-off directly, and the rest, indirectly.


Courtesy - The Economic Times.

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इस वेबसाइट को जारी रखने में यथायोग्य मदद करें -

-Rajeev Kumar (Editor-in-chief, Sampadkiya.com)

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