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Pfizer said it had developed detailed logistical plans and tools to support vaccine transport (Reuters)
Pfizer said it had developed detailed logistical plans and tools to support vaccine transport (Reuters)

Pfizer keen on marketing coronavirus vaccines in India

  • 'We remain committed to advance our dialogue with the Government of India to make this vaccine available for use in the country,' a Pfizer India spokesperson said
  • The spokesperson added that it expects to produce up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021

New Delhi: Pfizer is in discussion with government to sell its promising covid-19 vaccine in India, and believes its candidate has the potential to be an important part of India’s early vaccine response, a spokesperson for Pfizer India said in a statement to Mint.

"We remain committed to advance our dialogue with the Government of India to make this vaccine available for use in the country," a Pfizer India spokesperson said.

Government officials, on condition of anonymity, also confirmed that India is in talks with Pfizer for its messenger RNA vaccine, along with a number of other domestic and foreign developers of promising vaccine candidates.

The Pfizer spokesperson added that it expects to produce up to 50 million vaccine doses in 2020 and up to 1.3 billion doses in 2021.

“If our vaccine candidate is successful, Pfizer would allocate the available doses across the countries where we have fully executed supply agreements," it said.

Pfizer does not have a distribution pact so far with any company in India. Pfizer also does not have any formal agreement with Covax, the covid-19 vaccine access initiative of Gavi and the World Health Organization (WHO).

A major bottleneck for the vaccine, like most messenger RNA candidates, is that it requires a storage temperature of -75°C ±15°C.

The requirement of ultra-low temperature freezers, which is not available in India, is one of the major reasons why the Indian government is not enthused about procuring the vaccine which is being developed by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, a senior government official said on condition of anonymity.

The Pfizer spokesperson said that the company has developed detailed logistical plans and tools to support effective vaccine transport, storage and continuous temperature monitoring.

“We have experience working with customers in all markets and have developed comprehensive solutions to partner with countries to help in the deployment of this vaccine," the spokesperson said.

For India, among the early entrants, the outcome of trials of Russia’s Sputnik and University of Oxford’s Covishield vaccines even as early data from Pfizer’s covid-19 vaccine efficacy trial spurs sentiment globally.

The interim efficacy data of both Sputnik and Covidshield is expected over the next one month.

The government expects the Oxford vaccine to be the first off the block through its contract manufacturer, Serum Institute of India.

Government officials have earlier said that India could have a vaccine as early as next month, and hopes are pinned on the efficacy trial being conducted by Covishield’s co-developer Astrazeneca across the world as well as bridging studies by Serum Institute.

The bridging studies are meant to showcase that the vaccines being produced by the Pune-based firm are the same and produce similar results as the Oxford vaccine.

Astrazeneca has, as recently as 23 October, said that it anticipates results from the late-stage trials later this year, depending on the rate of infection within the communities where the clinical trials are being conducted.

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