Efforts To Vaccinate India Has Begun

Image Courtesy of Reuters

Image Courtesy of Reuters

Grace Mittleman, Staff Writer

According to a more recent John Hopkins University Tally, India has become the third most country in death rates of COVID-19. India surpassed Mexico’s death toll from the virus on Monday, making it the country with the third-highest number of reported coronavirus deaths worldwide, behind the United States and Brazil. The country’s death toll stands at 218,959, according to its health ministry and JHU.

India also has the second-highest number of total reported Covid-19 cases worldwide, behind the United States. Vaccine distributors; particularly Pfizer and Moderna, realize what is happening in India and are working to bring doses to the country.

“Pfizer is aware that access to vaccines is critical for ending this pandemic,” CEO of Pfizer, Albert Bourla, said in a Linkedin post. “We are currently discussing with the Indian government an expedited approval pathway to make our Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for use in the country.” The Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has already received emergency use authorization in the United States and has been used to vaccinate millions of Americans.

In addition, the company Moderna announced on Monday, May 3rd, an agreement with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to supply up to 500 million Covid-19 vaccine doses in low and middle-income countries. The company said the doses are being offered at Moderna’s lowest tiered price. An initial 34 million doses are to be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2021, with an option for 466 million doses in 2022.

This agreement covers 92 countries partnered with COVAX, a global initiative to buy coronavirus vaccines in bulk and send them to poorer nations that can’t compete with wealthy countries in securing contracts with the major drug companies. COVAX is run by Gavi, the World Health Organization, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and is funded by donations from governments, institutions, and foundations.

“I am grateful to our Gavi and COVAX partners for their tireless work and to the entire Moderna team for their collaboration to reach this agreement. This is an important milestone as we work to ensure that people around the world have access to our COVID-19 vaccine,” Moderna’s CEO Stéphane Bancel said in a press release. “We recognize that many countries have limited resources to access COVID-19 vaccines. We support COVAX’s mission to ensure broad, affordable, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and we remain committed to doing everything that we can to ending this ongoing pandemic with our mRNA COVID-19 vaccine.”

In Moderna’s press release, Gavi CEO Dr. Seth Berkley expressed his pleasure with the agreement, which will give COVAX access to another Covid-19 vaccine. “Expanding and having a diverse portfolio has always been a core goal for COVAX, and to remain adaptable in the face of this continually evolving pandemic–including the rising threat posed by new variants. This agreement is a further step in that direction,” he said.