India to get 97 million doses of Serum-made AstraZeneca vaccine from Covax

According to the interim distribution forecast released by Covax, the World Health Organization (WHO)-Gavi initiative to ensure equitable distribution of vaccine across the globe, India will get around 97 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine made by Serum Institute of India (SII). As of now, Covax has not allotted the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for India. 

The document highlights that India is in line to receive around 97,164,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine licensed to SII in the first and second quarters of 2021. The Covax plan states how the 240 mn doses of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine would be distributed across countries as well as the 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. 

"Covax currently anticipates 1.2 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be available to the COVAX Facility in Q1 2021, subject to the completion of additional agreements, and will be complemented by the larger volumes of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine available to the Facility during the same time period," the document says. 

It adds that additional volumes of doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be available in the second quarter and beyond, per the signed advance purchase agreement between Gavi and Pfizer-BioNTech for up to 40 million doses. However, given the limited doses, the complexities related to rolling-out a vaccine requiring ultra-cold chain, and to ensure maximum public health impact, Covax has made a decision to limit the number of countries for first deliveries of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in order to enable successful distribution and delivery. 

As of now, India does not feature on that list. 

Country AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine licensed to Serum Institute (doses)  Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine (doses) 
India   97,164,000 -- 
Bangladesh 12,792,000 --
Bhutan 108,000 -- 
Afghanistan 3,024,000 -- 
Maldives 108,000 5,850
Myanmar 4,224,000 -- 
Nepal 2,256,000 -- 
Pakistan 17,160,000 -- 

As for the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine which is licensed to SII delivery is estimated to begin in late February, subject to WHO approval. Around 35-40 per cent of the doses would be available in Q1, while 60-65 per cent would be available in the second quarter. 

The general target is to reach at least three per cent population coverage in all countries in the first half of the year, enough to protect the most vulnerable groups such as health care workers. 

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