US pharma company Pfizer has refused to send vaccines to Delhi and Punjab but it has hinted that it can supply five crore vaccine doses to India in 2021 if the Centre agrees to its terms and conditions, news agency PTI has reported.
According to the report, Pfizer can supply one crore vaccine doses in July, one in August, two crore in September and another one crore in October. But it will deal only with the government of India and the payment has to be made by GOI.
Pfizer, sources told to PTI, has also asked for indemnification from the Centre like it has with around 116 countries in the world, including the United States. Reuters reported that the US drugmaker wants legal protection from any claims linked to the use of its vaccine. Another report says Pfizer wants relaxations in the ‘requirement of post-approval bridging trials and dispensing the requirement of testing their vaccines in Central Drugs Laboratory”.
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For the approval of any foreign-made vaccine, local trials in India are required, like Dr Reddy’s Laboratory’s conducted for Sputnik V, the only foreign vaccine approved in India. It is not yet known whether the government will agree to these clauses as other companies may raise similar demands.
As Pfizer refused to supply to individual states, the ministry said it has been coordinating with both Pfizer and Moderna. “Whether it is Pfizer or Moderna, at the Centre-level, we have been coordinating with them. The order book of both Pfizer and Moderna is full so it depends on their surplus that how much they can provide in India… they will come back to the Centre and we will help in facilitation to states,” health ministry joint secretary Lav Agarwal said.
Pfizer has defended that 14.7 crore doses of vaccines have already been administered worldwide without any “significant reports of adverse effects”. The expert group of vaccination will take a final call on allowing Pfizer, reports said.
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Regarding Pfizer’s vaccine, the Centre was initially doubtful as it required to be stored at minus 70 degree celsius. But recently, the company said that its vaccine can be stored at minus 25 degree, and it can also be stored for five days at a temperature between two degree and eight degree celsius.
Meawnhile, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corportion commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal on Tuesday claimed that the civic body has received a bid from Pfizer in response to BMC’s vaccine procument tender, which the US pharma giant has refured. “Neither Pfizer Inc nor any of its affiliates globally, including in India, have authorized anyone to import/market/distribute the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID 19 vaccine. We continue to have ongoing discussions with the Government of India towards making our vaccine available for use nationally,” an official told news agency ANI.
(With agency inputs)