India invites Pfizer, Moderna and J&J to seek vaccine licences immediately

India has decided to fast track emergency approvals for Covid-19 vaccines authorised by Western countries and Japan

Akshita Jain
Thursday 15 April 2021 17:47
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India approves foreign vaccines urgently amid Covid-19 surge despite being World’s top producer

India has invited vaccine makers Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson to seek licence for their Covid-19 vaccines in the country as soon as possible amid a surge in cases. 

“We hope and we invite the vaccine makers such as Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson and others...to be ready to come to India as early as possible,” said senior government health official Vinod Kumar Paul, according to Reuters. 

This comes after the Indian government decided to fast track emergency approvals for coronavirus vaccines authorised by Western countries and Japan. 

The government said that vaccines that would be eligible for the fast-track approval will include those that have been approved for restricted use by US Food and Drug Administration, European Medicines Agency, UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency of Japan. Vaccines in the World Health Organisation’s Emergency Use Listing will also be eligible. 

The move will exempt companies from carrying out local safety trials for their vaccines, according to Reuters. 

India is currently administering doses of Covishield — Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine produced by Serum Institute of India — and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. It also approved the restricted emergency use of the Sputnik V this week.

The country has administered more than 114 million vaccine doses, according to government data on Thursday. 

India’s invitation to vaccine makers comes amid soaring Covid-19 cases. The country reported over 200,000 daily infections on Thursday, taking the total number of cases to 14 million as national capital Delhi announced a weekend curfew to combat rising cases. 

Pfizer had in February filed an application for emergency-use approval of its Covid-19 vaccine in India, but withdrew the application later. It had said it would look to submit its application again with the additional information that the Indian drug regulator requires. 

On Tuesday, the US recommended a “pause” in use of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to investigate reports of rare blood clotting in six recipients. 

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