Coronavirus India News on January 23, 2021: India Churns out Coronavirus Vaccines
Recently, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer in India suffered from an incidence of fire. The production of coronavirus vaccines is not affected, according to the company. It is running at full speed - and not just for the Indian market.
Production is running at full speed at the Serum Institute in Pune in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The so-called Oxford vaccine from AstraZeneca is also produced by the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines. More than 50 million vaccine doses have already rolled off the production line, it was said a few weeks ago.
The company, founded in 1966, says it supplies more than 170 countries around the world with vaccines against polio, meningitis, measles, and other diseases.
Fire at vaccine manufacturer
When a fire broke out at the production site in Pune a few days ago, concerns grew that supplies for the coronavirus vaccine, which was already approved in India, could be slowed down. Company boss Adar Poonawalla has now given the all-clear: The corona vaccine production is not affected by the fire. "This is already noticeable with other vaccines, for example, against tuberculosis. We will try to compensate for this at other production sites," said the entrepreneur.
The corona virus vaccine by AstraZeneca, the serum institute in India under the name "Covishield" markets, is primarily intended for the Indian demand. But other countries have already signed contracts and received their first deliveries.
Brazil uses Covishield
Two million doses of Covishield vaccine were delivered to Brazil on Friday, according to footage from Reuters news agency.
The Indian ambassador to Brazil, Suresh Reddy, said at the airport in Rio that the Indian Prime Minister Modi had promised that India would supply the whole world with corona virus vaccines. India is working to combat the global pandemic successfully.
Free vaccine for poorer neighboring countries
India has provided its poorer neighboring countries with coronavirus vaccine free of charge. As part of the "Neighborhood First" program, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Myanmar received hundreds of thousands of vaccine doses this week. Seychelles in the Indian Ocean and Sri Lanka and Afghanistan, are also on the list. The neighboring archenemy Pakistan apparently not.
Anurag Srivastava, the Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman, said at a press conference in Delhi that Pakistan was not aware of any commercial delivery requests for the coronavirus vaccine. "The question of whether Pakistan will receive the vaccine as part of our Neighborhood First program is probably only hypothetical. I do not want to answer that here."
WHO Covax program
The international platform for the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, Covax, which Germany has also joined, will shortly make the AstraZeneca vaccine available to poorer countries. According to media reports, most of the vaccination doses that have already been reserved will be supplied by the Serum Institute in Pune.
Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the World Health Organization, announced at a press conference in Geneva that the WHO expects almost 150 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the first quarter of this year - subject to approval. "Together with the agreed 40 million vaccine doses from Pfizer and BioNTech, we are well on the way to providing two billion vaccine doses for the Covax vaccination program by the end of the year."
The WHO chief had accused the rich countries of buying the coronavirus vaccine at the poorer countries' expenses. 95 percent of all available vaccine doses would be given in just ten countries.
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