To speed up the inoculation process, the Centre is in talks with Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson to import COVID vaccines, multiple reports say.
“The government has made action plans to vaccinate everyone by the end of December (2021) and for the production of 250 crore vaccine doses after speaking to several pharma companies. Sputnik has already arrived in Hyderabad and discussions are on to get the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson shots too,” Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said on Wednesday.
“Vaccination should not be seen from a political point of view,” ANI reported, quoting Reddy.
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If all goes as per the plan, Pfizer vaccines will reach India in July itself, Times of India reported, quoting official sources.
Pfizer also said that it continues to remain engaged with the Indian government towards making its coronavirus vaccine available for use in the government immunisation programme.
The company’s statement came after Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) exempted specific trials of COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved by some other international regulatory bodies.
“Pfizer continues to remain engaged with the Government of India towards making its COVID-19 vaccine available for use in the Government immunisation programme in the country.
“As these discussions are ongoing, we are unable to share any additional details at this time,” a Pfizer spokesperson told ANI.
Only three COVID vaccines are now available in the country — Serum Institute of India’s Covishied, Bharat Biotech’s COVAXIN, and Sputnik V.
The government has not just waived India-specific trials for these foreign vaccines approved by specific countries and WHO for emergency use. It has reportedly “no problem” in granting indemnity or legal protection as well from any claims linked to the use of a company’s COVID-19 vaccine.
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Quoting Health Ministry sources, NDTV reported that the government may grant another major concession requested by Pfizer in the past – which is indemnity from liability.
Union Health Ministry sources have said that “there is no problem” in granting indemnity or legal protection from any claims linked to the use of a manufacturer’s COVID-19 vaccine. “If these companies have applied for Emergency Use Authorisation in India, then we are ready to give them indemnity,” the sources allegedly said. According to these sources, other countries too have given indemnity against legal proceedings.