PAHO says COVID surge in India affecting COVAX vaccine availability

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PAHO says COVID surge in India affecting COVAX vaccine availability

The escalating Covid19 infection rate in India will affect the number of vaccines which will be available through the Covax facility.

So says Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) assistant director Dr Jarbas Barbosa.

He said the second delivery of Covax vaccines has begun, but PAHO will need to confirm the amounts available.

The shortfall from AstraZeneca vaccines produced in India, he said, will be made up for by sharing the vaccines from other manufacturers among the countries which would have been receiving vaccines specifically from the Serum Institute of India. He said negotiations were ongoing with the Indian government about exporting vaccines from that country to fulfil Covax contracts.

Barbosa said there are 91 vaccine development projects in various stages of clinical trials. Of these, 16 have committed to donating vaccines to the Covax facility once trials are done. He is hopeful about the progress of the Cuban vaccine, which is currently in Phase III clinical trials, and said once the information from the trials is available, it will be reviewed.

“For a vaccine to be included in the Covax facility and available for purchase through the PAHO revolving fund, it has to be certified or given emergency use approval from the World Health Organization (WHO). Every vaccine development in Latin America and the Caribbean is important, as we need to have more capacity in the region to produce vaccines, especially if we need them in years to come.”