The European Union has asked India for approval to purchase 10 mln doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer
Brussels counts on SII vaccines to reduce the supply shortages from AstraZeneca’s European factories and accelerate vaccination in EU countries. This is a sign of increasing pressure on Delhi to export more of its vaccine production to other countries.
Swift approval from India of the EU’s request is considered unlikely, as the country announced in late March that it would limit vaccine exports due to rising domestic demand.
The SII was originally intended to make the AstraZeneca vaccine for low and middle-income countries only. India-made vaccines are one of the main sources for the global COVAX program, which aims to provide access to vaccines for less wealthy countries.
A total of 64 mln vaccines to 83 countries have been exported from India so far. Vaccine demand is expected to rise substantially after the inoculation drive expanded to include people over the age of 45. India has so far vaccinated 64 mln people. With more than 12 mln COVID-19 infections, it has the third highest number of infections in the world.