Under extreme political pressure and after being hit by a much-harder second Covid-19 wave in April-May 2021, the Centre had stopped its supply to COVAX, a global mechanism with WHO and many developed and developing countries to provide coronavirus jabs for low-income countries that have no access to vaccine production.
The Narendra Modi-led government had been criticised for ‘giving away’ 60 million precious vaccines even as India had supply issues of its own for domestic use.
Sources now indicate to CNN-News18 that the resumption of this supply from India, mainly SII-produced Covishield, will resume only after the country completes its domestic vaccination target of complete adult immunisation by end of 2021.
A person in the know of the process said: “India has to focus on its home needs first. While there is pressure from COVAX, India will likely resume this supply only after its domestic needs of two jabs for each adult is complete. India did suffer in the second wave, and the world understands that.”
COVAX has been checking in with India on when the resumption is likely, CNN-News18 has learnt, but the realistic expectation is it won’t start before the end of the year, a timeline also indicated to by SII.
India seems on track to complete that target, despite initial skepticism, by the self-imposed deadline of December 2021. On September 7, the country completed another day of over 1 crore vaccinations, making it the third such day in 11 days.
Over 18 crore jabs were administered in the month of August and as per supply estimates, India aims to increase this to 24 crore in September and further as the months go on. After completing 70 crore jab-administration, India still has to give out 110 crore doses to meet its adult-immunisation target and will need to keep the rate at about 1 crore jabs a day to reach the mark.
The success of the Indian vaccination drive will be of keen interest to the global community too that is looking at India to provide low-cost jabs for the needy countries.