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India is making all efforts to increase the availability of vaccines for the country, an Indian foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday as parts of India were still reeling under the impact of a deadly second wave of covid-19 infections.

“Government of India has been making all efforts to augment availability of vaccines in India, whether through enhanced production in the country or through supply from abroad. We remain engaged with US vaccine manufacturers like Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Moderna as part of this effort," Bagchi told reporters.

“We are also engaged with the US Administration to ensure that necessary components and raw materials for vaccine production in India are readily available," he said in response to questions on vaccine supply increase in the country.

“This issue was taken up most recently during EAM (External Affairs Minister)’s visit to USA," Bagchi said referring to Indian foreign minister S Jaishankar’s 24-28 May visit to the US. “It is in our mutual interest to combat the global pandemic by expediting vaccination efforts," he said.

The comments come against the backdrop of vaccine manufacturers complaining of unpredictable flows and shortage of raw materials and critical components from the global market especially the US. Under the US Defence Production Act, elements needed for the manufacture of vaccines were diverted for domestic manufacture of vaccines given that the US has been the most badly hit country due to the covid-19 pandemic. Last month the US had said it would divert supplies for manufacturing of the AstraZeneca vaccines in India and ensure supply chains are kept open.

“As regards the US Government announcement of making available vaccines to other countries, we are awaiting further details," he said referring to millions of AstraZeneca vaccines that the US has said it will send to other countries given that it is using vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna to inoculate people at home.

Earlier on Thursday, Indian foreign secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said India was in talks with Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson about sourcing, and possible local manufacture of their covid-19 vaccines.

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