, India

India’s vaccine export delays spell doom for low-income nations

The country’s SII makes up about half of Covax supply.

The Serum Institute India said that it is unlikely to restart deliveries to Covax until the end of 2021, which could cause a further lag in vaccine coverage amongst countries reliant on Covax, which are generally lower-income countries, according to a report from Fitch Solutions.

Gavi, a founding organisation of Covax, expects that 190 million doses of vaccine expected to be delivered by the end of June 2021 will now remain in India. It also said that it is hopeful deliveries will resume in Q3 but at a reduced level. This can leave countries vulnerable to recurring Covid-19 outbreaks, Fitch said.

Currently SII makes up about half of Covax supply, therefore a several-month delay would seriously slow the progress of Covax, as well as for the vaccination campaigns of countries reliant on Covax.

“We expect that the worst affected will be those in the Covax Advanced Market Commitment (AMC) scheme given lower incomes to reach purchase deals directly with manufacturers,” the report stated.

However, a bleaker outlook could be averted if another manufacturer is able to step in and reach a deal with Covax to replace the shortfall from SII. However, this outcome is unlikely given most manufacturers have already committed direct deals with countries that are likely to take precedence over any deals with Covax.

“Another possibility is that countries with high vaccination coverage begin to donate significant volumes of vaccines either directly or through Covax. US President Joe Biden announced on May 17 2021 that the US will donate some 80mn doses by the end of June 2021, however, this remains well below the 190mn dose Covax shortfall,” the report added.

Significant donations from the US and other countries nearing vaccination coverage will be required throughout 2021 to avoid severe delays for Covax reliant countries, the report added.

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