Govt’s expert group in talks with Pfizer for their vaccine, says Union health minister
The US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said on July 14 that the country was ready to send both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines “expeditiously” and was waiting for India's nod.
An expert group constituted by the Indian government is holding talks with Pfizer for access to their Covid-19 vaccines, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Friday. “An expert group of the Indian government is still in talks with Pfizer over COVID vaccine supply," the minister said in the Lok Sabha.
The US State Department spokesperson Ned Price told PTI on July 14 that the country was ready to send both Pfizer and Moderna vaccines “expeditiously” and was waiting for India's nod. Mandaviya did not elaborate if the current talks had any connection to the 3-4 million doses of Moderna and Pfizer that the country is set to receive from the US as a donation or is a separate talk for commercial import. The US has decided to donate 80 million doses of vaccines through the global vaccine initiative COVAX.
Price also told the news agency that the doses have not been shipped yet because the Indian government was reviewing its legal provisions related to accepting vaccine donations. "Once India works through its legal processes, our donations of vaccines to India will proceed expeditiously. We would need to refer you to the Government of India on the status of its discussions with COVAX, which, in this case, is helping to facilitate that delivery,” he had said.
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India has also been offered 7.5 million doses of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine through the COVAX programme, but it remains unclear when the jabs will arrive in the country as a consensus on the indemnity clause is yet to be reached. Niti Aayog member (health) Dr VK Paul recently said the government is working actively with Moderna to see how its vaccine can be imported and made available in the country.
Both Pfizer and Moderna want the indemnity clause so as to protect themselves from any future lawsuits that might arise from the vaccine’s administration.
India’s Covid-19 vaccination programme has been regularly discussed during the ongoing monsoon session of Parliament. While informing the Lok Sabha that ₹9,725.15 crore has been spent by the government on the vaccination drive, Mandaviya also said, "There has been no delay in entering into purchase agreements with the domestic vaccine manufacturers. Advance payments have also been made to manufacturers for the supply orders placed with them,"