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Talks on with Pfizer, J&J, Moderna for local manufacturing of Covid vaccines, says foreign secretary

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Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Thursday said that the Ministry of External Affairs is in talks with Covid-19 vaccine makers such as Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson and Moderna about sourcing and possibly manufacturing doses in India. The development comes as the country is trying to source more vaccines amid a shortage.

Speaking at the “South-East Asia Regional Health Partners’ Forum on Covid-19”, Shringala said the ministry also helped in expediting the introduction of Russia’s Sputnik-V vaccines in India.

India is currently using two vaccines – Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute of India’s Covishield – to inoculate its population. India has also given emergency use authorisation to Russia’s Sputnik V.

The vaccination pace in the country is progressing at a slow pace amid a scarcity of vaccines. So far, India has administered 21,90,72,138 Covid-19 vaccine doses with 4,41,04,213 getting both the shots. This means that only about 3.1% of India’s population has been fully vaccinated since the immunisation programme began on January 16.

To boost the availability of shots, India’s drug regulator on Tuesday waived the requirement to conduct post-launch bridging trials for foreign-made coronavirus vaccines. Earlier on Thursday, the Centre also announced that it has finalised a deal with Hyderabad-based Biological-E to reserve 30 crore coronavirus vaccine doses. The vaccine is currently undergoing…

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