India may get 3 million to 4 million doses of the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines by August from the WHO-led COVAX facility, according to Reuters news agency.
The vaccines were coming as a donation through COVAX, Reuters cited one of its sources as saying.
India has also been in talks with US pharma giants Pfizer and Moderna to explore the possibility of local manufacturing of their Covid-19 vaccines in order to speed up the inoculation drive in the country.
However, the problem is that the two companies have been seeking an indemnity against any possible side-effect that could be attributed to the vaccine. They have taken the stand that this indemnity has been extended to them by all other countries including the US and European nations.
But India faces a dilemma on this account as domestic vaccine makers have not been given this indemnity.
“We are also part of the discussions with major vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna about sourcing and possible local manufacturing of their vaccines in India. We have also helped to expedite the introduction of Sputnik-V vaccines,” India’s foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla had said at a WHO meeting recently.
NITI Aayog member VK Paul had also said that the government was working with Pfizer for the earliest possible import of the Covid vaccine following indications from the US pharma company that it had the vaccine available from July. However, Pfizer’s indemnity request which was posing a major hurdle is also being looked into by the government.