Vaccine Maitri to be recalibrated: Shringla

Situation to ease after capacity ramp up, more vaccines

Vaccine Maitri to be recalibrated: Shringla

A medic shows a vial containing doses of Covaxin during a COVID-19 vaccination drive at a government hospital in Kolkata. PTI file poto

Sandeep Dikshit

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 30

The accelerated vaccination programme in the country has necessitated the need to “calibrate” India’s external supplies, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said here on Tuesday.

The situation will, however, quickly ease because there is every expectation that the two current manufacturers will rapidly expand their manufacturing capacities to cater to the increasing domestic and external demand.

Also, some of the vaccine candidates may also conclude their trial process and become available, the Foreign Secretary said at the Ananta Aspen Centre on the launch of a paper, ‘India: The world’s pharmacy expands its reach in global health’.

In other words, India’s Vaccine Maitri will take into account the domestic production and expanded domestic needs.

The WHO-backed GAVI has publicly complained of slowing up of supplies from India—having received only 28 million doses of Covishield vaccine instead of 40 million doses in March.

Shringla said India’s vaccine manufacturing capacity will be poised for a quantum jump in future after the Quad leaders summit of India, the US, Japan and Australia proposed to use Indian manufacturing capacity. The project to supply vaccines to the Indo-Pacific region will be financed and supported by the other Quad members.

This will involve the creation of new capacities and will not impact on the current vaccine production or roll out, he clarified.

Capacity building and experience sharing has been an important part of the assistance extended by India during this period. This is something that the authors of the paper could also examine in greater detail as it has the potential to emerge as an important area for our healthcare industry’s global outreach, advised the Foreign Secretary.

The paper points out that today, India is the world’s second largest manufacturer of PPE kits and has the capacity to produce about 1 billion RT-PCR test kits at very competitive prices. The paper concludes with ideas on the way ahead. These include addressing gaps at the bottom and top of the pharma value chain with regard to active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and original molecules.

“The paper includes several case studies showcasing the strength of our pharmaceuticals industry. All these examples point towards the high quality of Indian pharmaceutical products and the trust they enjoy across the globe,” said the Foreign Secretary.

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