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India may not get Moderna Covid vaccine supply till 2022: Report

Moderna had announced in June that India has granted permission for its Covid-19 vaccine to be imported into the country

A supply crunch may result in India not receiving any doses of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine till 2022, reported Hindustan Times, citing a government report.

According to HT, the US-based pharma company’s supplies are “fully booked till 2021″.

“Discussions with Moderna yielded their interest in supplies of their vaccine only in 2022 as their orders were fully booked for the year 2021. Moderna’s leadership also showed interest in a discussion for production of Moderna vaccines in India in next few years,” the government report as quoted.

Further, it said that the government has reviewed the indemnity agreement of drug companies like Pfizer with other countries. The indemnity clauses are part of purchase agreements.

None of the Indian vaccines currently in use in India — Covishield, Covaxin and Sputnik V — have not been given such legal protection yet.

“Pfizer agreed to supply several million doses of Pfizer vaccines but insisted on an indemnity agreement to waive off liability of the company, as well as on sovereign jurisdiction and arbitration,” the report said.

This comes in the backdrop of Bharati Pravin Pawar, the Union minister of state for health, informing the Rajya Sabha on Friday that no foreign Covid-19 vaccines have been purchased or received as donations by the government of India so far.

In response to a question on whether the government has signed any agreement with foreign countries for supplying the Covid vaccine to India, the minister said while the government of India is engaged in a dialogue with foreign manufacturers of the Covid vaccine, no specific agreement has been signed as yet.

Providing the present status of discussions with pharma companies like Pfizer and Moderna, Pawar said the government constituted the team on 11 June to deal with various issues related to the procurement of the Covid-19 vaccine from foreign manufacturers.

“This team is in continuous dialogue with Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson to discuss and address various issues including the issue of indemnity,” she said.

Earlier, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, the regional director of the World Health Organisation (WHO) South-East Asia, had stated that India has been offered 7.5 million doses of Moderna vaccine through Covax.

The US biotechnology company Moderna had announced in June that India has granted permission for its Covid-19 vaccine to be imported into the country for restricted use in an emergency situation.

Moderna has also received emergency (or other conditional, interim or provisional) authorisation for use of its Covid-19 vaccine from health agencies in more than 50 countries and an Emergency Use Listing (EUL) from the WHO.

According to WHO, the vaccine has shown to have an efficacy of approximately 94.1% in protecting against Covid-19, starting 14 days after the first dose.

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