The total number of these vaccine doses, if they are approved to be utilised in the course of time, should be enough to vaccine half of the country’s over 1.3 billion population given the fact that most of the vaccine candidates against the coronavirus require two doses.
The analysis of advance market commitments for experimental Covid-19 vaccine till October 8 by US-based Duke Global Health Innovation Center noted that international initiatives such as COVAX and other alliances are critical to ensuring equitable allocation of vaccines for low and middle-income countries.
Current models predict that there will not be enough vaccines to cover the world’s population until 2024, said the report by the Center’s Launch and Scale Speedometer, an initiative that identifies hurdles to delivering health innovations to low-income countries.
However, the analysis showed that the number of confirmed potential Covid-19 vaccine doses that India has ordered is second only to the US which already has made deals for 810 million doses and negotiating for another 1.6 billion doses.
“Several middle-income countries, including India, also have robust vaccine development programs and are putting forward vaccine candidates, though these are not as far along in the process as the leading candidates from high-income countries” said the report.
“If any of the candidates from middle-income countries achieve regulatory approval, the landscape will likely shift significantly,” it added.
For countries without manufacturing or vaccine development capacity, those with the infrastructure to host clinical trials, such as Peru, have used that as leverage to negotiate purchase deals, the report added.
Overall, the analysis showed that even before any vaccine candidates are approved for market, confirmed purchases cover 3.8 billion doses, with another five billion doses currently under negotiation or reserved as optional expansions of existing deals.
The report comes at a time when nearly 200 Covid-19 vaccine candidates are moving forward through the development and clinical trials processes at unprecedented speed, more than ten candidates are already in Phase 3 large-scale trials and several have received emergency or limited authorisation.
For the study, the researchers aggregated and analysed publicly available data on vaccine procurement and manufacturing to track the flow of procurement and better understand global equity challenges.
India is planning to start the distribution of Covid-19 vaccine first to the healthcare workers followed by other groups to be added “sequentially”.
The distribution drive would take place over a year. For this, the states and union territories would form a three-tier system as per the Centre’s directions.