India halts exports of AZ vax

March 25, 2021

With domestic COVID-19 cases on the rise, India has stopped exports of AstraZeneca’s vaccines made by the Serum Institute of India (SII).

According to the country’s foreign ministry, exports of the vaccine stopped on Thursday while the country focuses on inoculating its own population. As of right now, Indian citizens over the age of 60 and those over 45 with certain health conditions are eligible for a vaccine. Currently, over 50 million Indian citizens have received at least their first shot — but at the current rate, it is estimated that it could take a decade to vaccinate 70 percent of the country’s 1.3 billion people.

As the country looks to expand eligibility to everyone over 45 starting April 1, India is shoring up supplies of vaccines — at the expense of other countries.

Reuters reports that the ban on AZ doses will impact a WHO/GAVI backed facility set to help distribute vaccines to 180 countries. So far, that facility has received 17.7 million AZ doses from SII, and has a deal to buy 1.1 billion doses of SII-produced vaccines from both AZ and Novavax. 

SII is also supposed to supply the Indian government with 141 million vaccine doses.

Read the Reuters report.