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India is one of the top 10 buyers of COVID-19 vaccines

India is one of the top 10 buyers of COVID-19 vaccines

The government has purchased at least 205.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, according to data from the Duke Global Health Innovation Center, placing India in the top 10 vaccine buyers in the world. But those shots would only cover 8% of its 1.4 billion population.

As of Tuesday, India had administered 147.7 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, according to the health ministry. Some 2.4 million of those were given on that day alone, the ministry said.

The country is administering two vaccines domestically: the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, known as Covishield in India, and its homegrown Covaxin, developed jointly by Bharat Biotech and the government-run Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). In mid-April, India also approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, after ordering 100 million doses of it last September.

Before the pandemic, India typically produced more than 60% of all vaccines sold globally. It is home to the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine maker, and its vast manufacturing capability is why the country signed on as a major player in COVAX, the global vaccine-sharing initiative that provides discounted or free doses for lower-income countries.

Under the initial agreement announced last year, SII would manufacture up to 200 million doses for up to 92 countries. But the ferocity of India’s second wave of infections has disrupted those plans. In the face of crisis, the government and SII have shifted focus from supplying vaccines to COVAX to prioritizing their own citizens at home.

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