US Waiting To Dispatch Pfizer, Moderna Vaccines On India’s Nod

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The United States said it is waiting for the Indian government to give a green signal for dispatching the anti-Covid vaccines that the US is donating to several countries across the world. “We are ready to ship those vaccines expeditiously when we have a green light from the Government of India,” State Department spokesperson Ned Price said, as reported by news agency PTI. US vaccines have reached Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh. But for India, it is taking time as there are some legal hurdles for emergency import, Ned Price said.

The US earlier announced to share 80 million doses from its domestic stock with countries around the world. Under India’s share, it is supposed to get 3-4 million doses of Moderna and Pfizer from the United States. While Moderna has been approved by the Drug Controller General of India, Pfizer has not yet applied for an emergency approval in India yet.

What are the legal hurdles?

“Before we can ship those doses, however, each country must complete its own domestic set of operational, of regulatory, and legal processes that are specific to each country. Now, India has determined that it needs further time to review legal provisions related to accepting vaccine donations,” Price said.

“Once India works through its legal processes, our donations of vaccines to India will proceed expeditiously. We would need to refer you to the Government of India on the status of its discussions with COVAX, which, in this case, is helping to facilitate that delivery,” he said.

“More broadly in the region, throughout South Asia, we’re donating millions of vaccines to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. Roughly 40 million doses have been delivered worldwide so far,” he added.

Legal indemnity

The vaccine doses that will be available to India now are part of US donation and no agreement on commercial supplies of these vaccines in India has been made yet. As DCGI approved Moderna, Cipla will import the vaccines from the US. But there has been no decision on legal indemnity as yet. Moderna and Pfizer have wanted legal protection in India which will shield them from legal cases in the country.