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Home / News / India /  Don’t see India facing trouble in procuring covid-19 vaccines: Gagandeep Kang

India is not likely to face any delay in covid-19 vaccines due to its large manufacturing capacity, but there may be a worry that other low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) may face trouble in getting enough vaccine shipments to inoculate their population, said Gagandeep Kang, professor at Christian Medical College and board member of Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

“I'm worried about the other 91 countries (LMIC) that are in the COVAX facility that have been promised doses for 20% of their populations. What about the remaining 80%? Where is the funding for those countries to be able to buy the vaccine going to come from? Only when we have a clear path to how that is going to be done, can we really think that we have got a process in place for global equity and access," Kang said.

The COVAX facility, which is aimed at providing equitable access to covid-19 vaccines to LMICs, is led by CEPI along with the World Health Organization (WHO) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. India is one of the 92 LMICs which is eligible for financial support in procurement of covid-19 vaccines.

For India, the more important component in terms of vaccinations would be putting in place a mechanism for adverse event reporting after mass immunisations start, she said, while noting the strengthening of the national adverse event following immunisation (AEFI) mechanism by the government.

“It's only when the vaccine is rolled out that we will pick up rare side effects and we will pick up long-term side effects," Kang said.

Serum Institute of India’s Covishield is expected to be the first covid-19 vaccine that will be rolled out in India, with health minister Harsh Vardhan telling news agency ANI that they expect the vaccine to be available in January itself.

Covishield is a version of a vaccine originally developed by British firm AstraZeneca plc and University of Oxford. Gagan Singh, managing director of AstraZeneca India Pharma Ltd, said that their parent company is on course to globally deliver 3 billion doses of the vaccine, with help from Serum, even with a recently observed mutation in the virus.

All India Institute of Medical Sciences director Randeep Guleria said that he does not expect to see a major impact of the mutation on vaccine but said that there is a need for more data on it.

“As of now it seems that it will not really have a major effect as far as the vaccine is concerned, but like I said we need more data to be able to really understand whether it is actually causing more or increasing the infections and how does it really pan out in terms of mortality and the effect on the vaccine," Guleria said.

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