Pfizer has applied for authorization for emergency use of its coronavirus vaccine in India, a government health adviser said in a television interview on Sunday, the first company to do so in the country with the second highest total of infections in the world.
The American company, whose vaccine was recently approved in the UK, made contact with Indian authorities on Saturday, said VK Paul, who is advising the government on matters related to Covid-19.
“Pfizer’s interest in seeking an emergency license in our country is welcome,” Paul told NDTV.
India’s drug regulator usually takes 90 days to decide on those requests, but a decision on Pfizer’s vaccine should come out much faster than that, Paul said.
“That will be decided, I hope, soon,” he said.
The Ministry of Health did not respond to the request for comment. Pfizer officials in India could not be reached immediately for comment.
Paul said in November that vaccines developed by Pfizer and rival Moderna might not be available in large quantities in India in the near future.
India is hoping that five locally tested vaccines, including the one being developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, will help control the virus.
Pfizer’s vaccine needs to be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius or below, temperatures that industry experts say will be difficult to maintain in many refrigeration facilities in India.
India has reported more than 9.57 million cases of Covid-19, the second highest number behind the United States, with almost 140,000 deaths.