THD News Desk, New Delhi: As a response to bridging the gap between demand and supply of vaccines in India, the Government is offering an advance of more than Rs 4500 crore to Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech, as stated by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday.
This development came after The White House refused to respond to the request by the Serum Institute of India to lift the export ban on certain raw materials needed for ramping up production of the COVID-19 vaccine on 5th April.
During a daily news conference, a reporter questioned the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki asking, “India is facing a critical shortage of raw materials necessary to make vaccines. And officials there are urging the U.S. to lift the embargo on exporting those raw materials. My colleagues in India are reporting today that the Biden administration recently told India that its request was being considered and would be acted ‘at the earliest’. Could you provide some more details on that and maybe some timeline?”
“The significant inequalities we are seeing in access to vaccines between developed and developing countries are completely unacceptable. Extraordinary times require extraordinary leadership, communication, and creativity,” she responded. Adding that their focus is on determining the most effective steps that will help get the pandemic under control. We don’t have anything further in terms of the next steps or a timeline, but we are considering a range of options.
Amid the vaccine shortage that India is facing, the comment from the leading funder of the World Health Organization’s initiative COVAX has created confusion on the diplomatic front presented by the GOI.
During her interaction with India Inc representatives, Nirmala Sitharaman suggested that the Government is not considering a national lockdown but local curfews and lockdowns to break the chain of infection.
Without asking the leading vaccine manufacturers to produce bank guarantees, the government has agreed to provide an advance of Rs 1567 crore to Bharat Biotech and Rs 3000 crore to Serum Institute, which is expected to supply 200 million doses from June this year.
Mentioning that the Centre has left it up to the states to decide the appropriate action for the containment of the virus in their states, Sitharaman added that the states were given a road map on vaccine allocations as early as last October to make the vaccination drive smooth.