India cuts back vaccine exports

India cuts back vaccine exports
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IslamNews – With its own battle against the coronavirus taking a sharp turn for the worse, the Indian government is now holding back nearly all of the 2.4 million doses that its biggest vaccine producer, the Serum Institute of India, puts out each day.

More than 70 countries have received vaccines made in India, especially the AstraZeneca shot. But as a second wave hits home, India is drawing up its gates: The size of its shipments abroad has greatly diminished in the past two weeks, according to data from the foreign ministry.

Slowing exports could derail the world’s vaccination drive: Covax, the global initiative many low-income countries are relying on, warned of delays because of increased demand in India. Production issues at AstraZeneca facilities in Europe have led a host of countries to rely on the Serum Institute, making the company even more critical to the global vaccine supply chain.

Awkward spot: The Serum Institute has an interest in fulfilling the contracts it has signed with foreign countries. Its chief executive has been careful not to say anything negative about the pressure Prime Minister Narendra Modi is putting on him.

The numbers: India is desperate for all of the doses it can get. Infections are soaring, topping 50,000 per day, more than double the number less than two weeks ago. The country’s vaccination drive has been sluggish, with less than 4 percent of India’s nearly 1.4 billion people getting a jab.

Source: The New York Times

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