Moderna Covid vaccine enters Indian market; Pfizer next, says govt
The Centre on Tuesday announced the official entry of Moderna Covid-19 vaccine in the Indian market as the fourth drug in its arsenal to fight the deadly infectious disease and said that the focus is now on the Pfizer vaccine.
"New drug permission has been granted to Moderna, the first internationally developed vaccine. This new drug permission is for restricted use," VK Paul, NITI Aayog's member of health said in a press conference. Moderna will be administered in two doses, Paul said.
Moderna's shot is the fourth vaccine in India after AstraZeneca's Covishield, Bharat Biotech's Covaxin and Sputnik V developed by Russia's Gamaleya Institute. The country will soon make way for Pfizer's vaccine as well, officials said.
"There are four vaccines now Covaxin, Covishield, SputnikV and Moderna. We will soon close the deal on Pfizer as well," Paul said on Tuesday.
Mumbai-based pharmaceutical drug company Cipla Ltd on Tuesday received approval from the country's drugs regulator to import the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Moderna Inc for restricted emergency use.
Cipla had filed an application with the Drugs Controller General of India on June 28 to import the vaccine.
After a fall in infections from a daily peak of 400,000 cases in May, India has doubled down its efforts to vaccinate the country's 940 million adults amid supply constraints and fears of the third wave of pandemic.
In a bid to accelerate its vaccination rollout amid a deadly second coronavirus wave, India in May scrapped local trials for "well-established" foreign coronavirus vaccines.
Earlier in the day, Johnson & Johnson said it was in talks with the Indian government to explore ways to speed up the delivery of its single-shot Covid-19 vaccine in the country.
So far, India has administered 323.9 million doses, the most in the world after China and the United States. An estimated 13.8 crore people, that is 49 per cent of the population, aged 60 years and above have been vaccinated with the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine, health ministry officials said on Tuesday.
About 59.7 crore people aged 18-44 years, that is 15 per cent of the population, have been vaccinated with the first dose of the vaccine, it said.
The country has held talks with several vaccine makers including Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, but no deal has been signed.