The Secretariat of Gavi has proposed to its Board to allocate 20 percent of the total COVAX advance market commitment (AMC) doses to India to cover 7-9 percent of its population.
In addition, the Secretariat also proposed 20 percent of the overall amount for technical assistance and meeting cold chain equipment.
Gavi Secretariat report said India accounts for over 35 percent of the total AMC participants’ population.
In its report to the Board, Gavi Secretariat told that the Indian government has confirmed plans for three initial waves of vaccination within the priority phase in 2021.
The report said India plans would require over 600 million doses to reach a target population of 23 percent. The first wave will be targeting 10 million front-line health workers by February, the second wave - targeting 20 million frontline and essential workers by March, and the third wave targeting 270 million of over 50 years and people with co-morbidities by August.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
The report says if India receives the high range allocation of COVAX AMC funded doses ~190-250 million the gap remaining to be filed from domestic manufacturing and financing would be 300-360 million doses. To fill this gap, the government would need up to $ 1.4 billion just on vaccine procurement based on Serum Institute of India price of $3 per dose.
"If India receives the low range allocation ~95-125 million doses the gap remaining to be filled from domestic manufacturing and financing would be 425-455 million doses which would cost up to $1.8 billion in government financing for vaccine procurement alone," the report added.
The COVAX AMC was launched on June 4 to ensure guarantee rapid, fair, and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines worldwide. COVAX will enable countries to have access to the world’s largest and most diverse COVID-19 vaccine portfolio. Once a vaccine has been approved by regulatory agencies and prequalified by the WHO, the COVAX Facility will then purchase these vaccines with a goal to provide doses for an average of 20 percent of all participating countries including the 92 AMC-eligible economies by the end of 2021.
Further doses will be made available based on financing, country need, vulnerability and potential threat, and a buffer of doses will also be maintained for emergency and humanitarian use.
“India has at least twenty-four vaccines in the pipeline with manufacturing capacity for either self-developed or in-licensed products by a non-Indian company. Eight of these vaccines are in clinical trials, of which four are in phase III and one is under regulatory review. The Prime Minister of India has gone on record to affirm the Indian Government’s commitment to a global solution to the pandemic,” the report said.
In September, Gavi Board recognized the need for COVID-19 vaccine support when it approved India as part of the Gavi57 eligible group of countries. Countries become eligible for support if their average Gross National Income (GNI) per capita has been less than or equal to $1,630 over the past three years.
India is also one of the 20 most-affected countries globally by COVID-19 mortality with over 1,50,000 death and 10 million cases.
Following the world’s biggest lockdown starting in March 2020, India’s gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by 24 percent in Q2 2020. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is projecting India’s economy to contract by 10.3% by the end of the fiscal.