Global analysis marks India at the top for Covid-19 vaccine preparation

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According to the recent global analysis and study conducted by advance market commitments (AMCs) for experimental vaccines required till October 8, India has utilized its manufacturing competence for pre-ordering 600 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine and is also transacting for more one billion doses of vaccine which will be adequate for providing vaccine to almost half of the total population of the country. Most of the experimental Covid-19 vaccines would need a couple of doses for efficacy.

The figures take India to the second position in the world, led by United States, who has pre-ordered 810 million confirmed doses of the Covid-19 vaccine and will be negotiating for another 1.6 billion doses.

The US-based Duke Global Health Innovation Centre has done a detailed analysis of the purchasing agreements of the Covid-19 vaccine. Though it will take another three – to four years for manufacturing the vaccine required to suffice the total world population, various high-income countries and some middle-income countries with manufacturing competence such as India have purchased 3.8 billion doses, with choices for more 5 billion doses.

Andrea D Taylor, assistant director at US-based Duke Global Health Innovation Centre, chiefly headed the analysis. Taylor stated, “In terms of numbers of confirmed doses, the USA has pre-ordered the largest number (810 million confirmed, another 1.6 billion doses under negotiation), followed by India (600 million doses confirmed, with another 1 billion doses under negotiation), and the EU (400 million doses confirmed, another 1.565 billion doses under negotiation). But in terms of percent of population covered by confirmed purchases, Canada has pre-purchased enough vaccine to cover 527% of their population, followed by the UK at 277% of their population.”

Taylor further said, “Of course, it is important to remember that most likely only some of the vaccine purchases will come through, depending on regulatory approval.”

Doses adequate for 250 million people have been purchased by Covax, which is an initiative for both poor and rich countries assured equal access to both of them. For fulfilling the goal of providing vaccines to 20% of the enrolled countries, Covax would require 1.14 billion doses of a single dose and twice for double-dose regimen.

Elina Urli Hodges, MSPH, heads the Launch and Scale Speedometer, which focuses on improving health standards of low-income countries. Elina said, “An ambitious effort to create a global system of vaccine equity is being undermined as a handful of countries, including those who made a commitment to equality, secure as many doses as they possibly can.”

Taylor stated in an email, “It is understandable that countries are acting in their national interest; they are incentivised to focus first on the safety of their populations. But globally, this will deepen existing inequities, and prolong the pandemic. Our research points to the need for countries and multilateral funders to unlock additional manufacturing capacity (particularly in the Global South) and invest in preparing countries for effective distribution of vaccines. High-income countries should also work with COVAX, as a global coordinator, to ensure that, once their populations are covered, excess doses are redeployed where they are needed most around the world.”

Presently, no low-income country has registered for direct purchase with Covax. Various countries like Brazil are utilizing their manufacturing ability for bargaining with AMCs, and some countries like Peru, involving in Phase 3 clinical trials to leverage AMCs.

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