COVAX has so far received 17.7 million AstraZeneca doses from SII, of the 60.5 million doses India has shipped in total, and many countries are relying on the programme to immunise their citizens.
There have been no vaccine exports from India since Thursday, the foreign ministry's website showed, as the country expands its own immunisation effort.
“Everything else has taken a backseat, for the time being at least,” said a source. “No exports, nothing till the time the India situation stabilises. The government won’t take such a big chance at the moment when so many need to be vaccinated in India.”
The foreign ministry and SII did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
SII has already delayed shipments of the AstraZeneca drug to Brazil, Britain, Morocco, and Saudi Arabia.
UNICEF, the UN children’s agency that is procuring and distributing vaccines for COVAX, had no comment.
COVAX has a deal to buy 1.1 billion doses of the AstraZeneca and Novavax shots that the SII is making in bulk, mainly for low- and middle-income countries.
UNICEF in Vietnam said in a statement on Wednesday that vaccine production issues had led to delays in deliveries to all countries that were due to receive vaccines through COVAX. It did not specify the origin of those delays, although Vietnam was not expected to receive doses from SII.
The Union Cabinet decided this week to widen its inoculation drive by including everyone above 45 from April 1, and many states battling a surge in infections have demanded that all adults be covered.
With 11.7 million cases, India has reported the highest number of coronavirus
infections after the United States and Brazil.
Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.
We, however, have a request.
As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.
Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.