Vaccine manufacturer, Moderna, has declined to supply COVID-19 vaccines directly to the Punjab government. According to a senior official in Punjab, the Vaccine manufacturing giant informed the state that their agreement is with the Government of India and not with the state government.
The Punjab government had approached Sputnik V, Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson for procurement of the vaccines, according to a press release by the state government. The release also mentioned that the state government was forced to halt vaccinations for the past three days due to vaccine shortages.
As more states in the country issue global tenders to procure vaccines, some of the major vaccine manufacturers are finding themselves unable to participate in this “fragmented” process.
Currently, vaccines identified by the World Health Organization for emergency use, such as those from Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson (J&J), and Sinopharm, can be easily integrated into an immunization program.
However, emerging global supply bottlenecks and a lack of clarification on the domestic front (States floating their own tenders) suggest that procuring vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna, for example, would be difficult.
The fact that India is now pleading with companies for vaccines shows that it is late on the table for vaccine procurement internationally, despite the fact that over 90 percent of top companies’ supplies are reported to be fully booked for 2021.
Earlier on 13 April, While accepting the recommendations of the National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for Covid-19 (NEGVAC), India’s government announced that foreign-made vaccines that had been given emergency approval for restricted use by global regulatory bodies- such as USFDA, EMA (Europe), UK MHRA, PMDA Japan or that have been included in the WHO’s Emergency Use List, may be granted emergency-use approval in India. This had raised expectations that foreign behemoths like Pfizer and Moderna will step in to relieve the burden on the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Bharat Biotech.