Talks on with Pfizer, J&J, Moderna for possible local manufacturing: Shringla
MEA says it is making ‘all efforts’ to increase vaccine supplies, particularly from U.S.
India was in talks to allow major foreign vaccine manufacturers to carry out “local manufacturing”, said Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Thursday, as the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) asserted it was making “all efforts” to increase vaccine supplies, particularly from the U.S.
Addressing the WHO’s South-East Asia Regional Health Partners’ Forum, Mr. Shringla stated that India was fighting an “exceptionally severe second wave”of the pandemic.
“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 expedite the introduction of Sputnik-V vaccines,” he said, elaborating on the MEA’s role in securing vaccines.
In an order on February 5 last, U.S. President Joe Biden had invoked the Defence Production Act for vaccine components, putting a squeeze on India’s vaccine manufacturing.
India had been demanding easier access to raw materials necessary for vaccine production.
Mr. Shringla said MEA’s representatives have been working to “ease regulatory disruptions to these supply chains”.
Jaishankar’s U.S. visit
MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, replying to questions on the outcome of Mr. Jaishankar’s week-long U.S. visit, said, “We are also engaged with the U.S. administration to ensure that necessary components and raw materials for vaccine production in India are readily available. This issue was taken up most recently during External Affairs Minister [Jaishankar]’s visit to the U.S”.
India was also awaiting the U.S. allocations from its surplus stockpile of 80 million Astra Zeneca vaccines, he added.
In his address to the WHO, Mr. Shringla said India would create “global scale capacities” necessary to fight the pandemic. “A number of serious global conversations are underway on this in platforms such as th G7, th G20, QUAD, BRICS, the United Nations and the WTO itself,” he noted.