India has suspended all exports of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, according to a source in the foreign ministry.
The Indian government has made this decision due to the current surge in COVID-19 cases. On Wednesday, India recorded the highest daily increase in infections this year, with more than 47,000 new cases and 275 deaths.
The recent spike in India’s COVID-19 cases means domestic demand is expected to pick up in the coming weeks, therefore doses are needed for vaccination domestically. This is expected to affect supply until the end of April, but the situation could subside in May when at least one more vaccine is expected to be licensed for emergency use.
According to the foreign ministry website, there have been no exports from India since Thursday. About 190 countries under the Covax scheme, including Indonesia, are likely to be affected.
The Covax scheme, led by the World Health Organisation (WHO), aims to ensure vaccines are distributed fairly among all countries.
“Everything else is put on hold, at least for now,” a source at the ministry told Reuters news agency. “No exports, nothing, until India’s situation stabilises.”
India’s largest vaccine producer, the Serum Institute of India (SII), has postponed shipments of the AstraZeneca vaccine to several countries in recent days, including the UK and Brazil.
India has exported more than 60 million doses of vaccine to 76 countries so far, the vast majority of which is the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. There has been no official comment from the government or SII on the decision.
photo credit science.thewire.in
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