India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, suspends exports of coronavirus vaccines, prompting many Asian countries to rush to find other sources of supply.
The Indian Serum Institute, a vaccine manufacturer in India, has been approved to produce a coronavirus vaccine jointly developed by AstraZeneca in the United Kingdom and the University of Oxford in India. In order to meet the increasing domestic demand for vaccines, the Indian government recently decided to suspend the export of AstraZeneca vaccines.
The Serum Institute of India was supposed to provide 90 million doses of vaccine to the World Health Organization’s Global Access Mechanism for Coronary Disease Vaccines (COVAX) in March and April. With India’s vaccine export restrictions, the delivery of the vaccine was delayed.
The implementation of the COVAX program is to ensure that poorer countries can also obtain vaccines. Countries affected by India’s export restrictions through the program include South Korea, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
South Korea confirmed that it has reduced the vaccine it received from the originally stated 690,000 doses to 432,000 doses, and that the delivery of the vaccine was delayed to around the third week of April. Kim Ki-nam, the leader of the Korean Coronary Disease Vaccination Working Group, said: “The global vaccine supply is uncertain. We are making plans to ensure that the second season’s supply is not disrupted. We are also looking for ways to purchase more vaccines.” Korean officials It was revealed that they are negotiating with AstraZeneca, hoping to reach another agreement to speed up the delivery of the vaccine.
The head of the Philippine vaccination program, Gavistein, said that due to the shortage of vaccines, the country’s originally scheduled daily vaccinations have been affected; Vietnam could have obtained about 810,000 doses of vaccine through the COVAX program, but this supply figure has now been lowered. 40%, and the delivery time is also delayed by several weeks. The Philippines and Vietnam have approved domestic private companies to contact vaccine manufacturers to purchase vaccines to fill the gap.
The Indonesian Ministry of Health said that the 10.3 million doses of vaccine promised by COVAX may not be shipped until May.
India did not say how long the vaccine export ban will last, but UNICEF, one of COVAX’s vaccine distribution partners, said over the weekend that vaccine shipments are not expected to resume until May.
The affected countries now turn their attention to the two vaccine-producing countries, China and Russia. Garvez said: “We have good diplomatic relations with China and Russia, and we asked if we could introduce their vaccine in April.”
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The Philippines and Indonesia currently rely heavily on China’s Kexing vaccine to promote their vaccination plans; the Philippines and Vietnam have approved the use of the Russian “Satellite 5” vaccine, and the Philippines is expected to receive Russia’s first batch of vaccines in April.
In addition to India, Europe has also restricted Pfizer’s vaccine exports, which has affected wealthier countries, including Japan. Japanese Minister Taro Kono, who is in charge of the vaccination plan, said in an interview on Monday: “Some people use vaccines as a diplomatic tool, and some try to specify who has priority. Some people buy three to five times the amount of vaccines equivalent to their population. This is unnecessary. Global leaders should treat this as a global issue rather than their own internal issues, and sit down and discuss solutions together.”