New Delhi: A plane carrying two million doses of Covishield will leave for the country from Mumbai on Friday evening in response to the request of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for Indian vaccines. The vaccine, Covishield (AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine) produced by India’s Serum Institute of India, will help kick start Brazil’s vaccination program next week.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of External Affairs, when asked about the development said, “Vaccination process is just starting in India, to early to give a specific response on the supplies to other countries. We will take the decision in this regard on due course and this may take some time.”
“To enable the immediate implementation of our National Immunization Program”, the Brazilian President had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting, “two million doses of the immunizer produced by the Serum Institute of India”.
He explained in the letter that, “Brazilian government has launched the National Immunization Program against Covid-19” and “among the vaccines selected by the Brazilian government, are those from the Indian company Bharat Biotech Internacional Limited (Covaxin) and AstraZeneca at the University of Oxford (Covishield), also produced by the Serum Institute of India”.
It is important to note that Brazil will be producing 100 million doses of AstraZeneca vaccine by its national health institute/laboratory Fiocruz. Fiocruz is right now acquiring ready vaccines from the Serum Institute in India, one of the production centres for the vaccine.
Earlier in January 2021, Bharat Biotech signed an agreement with Brazil’s Precisa Medicamentos for Covaxin COVID-19 vaccine. A team from Precisa Medicamentos visited the Bharat Biotech facility in Hyderabad.
The company in a statement said, “In principle, it is understood between both parties that supplies of Covaxin to be prioritized for the public market, through a direct procurement by the Govt. of Brazil”. Supplies to the private market would be based upon receipt of market authorization from ANVISA, the Brazilian regulatory authority.
India is known as the pharma capital of the world, a position it reaffirmed during the covid pandemic by sending HCQ and paracetamol to around 150 countries around the world. Indian PM has said that India’s vaccine will be for humanity, with priority to the developing world and the neighbourhood.