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India to get 97.2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine from COVAX in first half of 2021

COVAX will be getting 240 million doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine from SII and 96 million doses from AstraZeneca under the advance purchase agreement between Gavi and the vaccine makers. SII has agreed to supply COVID-19 vaccine at $3 per dose.

February 04, 2021 / 10:33 AM IST
(Source: Reuters)

(Source: Reuters)

India will be getting 97.2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses through the World Health Organization's (WHO) COVAX facility in the first half of 2021, indicated COVAX's interim distribution plan, published on February 3.

The doses committed by COVAX for India will be coming from Serum Institute of India (SII), which has licensing agreement with AstraZeneca-Oxford University for manufacturing and distributing the vaccine in India and other low- and middle-income countries (LMIC).

COVAX will be getting 240 million doses of AstraZeneca-Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine from SII and 96 million doses from AstraZeneca under the Gavi's advance purchase agreement with the vaccine maker.

SII has agreed to supply COVID-19 vaccine at $3 per dose. AstraZeneca-Oxford University COVID-19 vaccine has not yet been granted emergency use license by the WHO. COVAX said the evaluation processes are currently underway.

The COVAX will also distribute 1.2 million doses of Pfizer vaccine in the first vaccine distribution round estimated to begin late February, depending on WHO's emergency-use licence.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

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.

How many types of vaccines are there?

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.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

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.

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According to the distribution plan, the COVAX facility, which is co-led by Gavi, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations and the UN Children's Fund, will cover at least 3 percent of total populations of 145 countries in the first half of the year, enough to protect the most vulnerable groups such as healthcare workers.
Viswanath Pilla is a business journalist with 14 years of reporting experience. Based in Mumbai, Pilla covers pharma, healthcare and infrastructure sectors for Moneycontrol.

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