Pfizer to send 50mn BioNTech vaccines to India by 2021, comes with conditions


After Russian COVID-19 vaccine Sputnik V, BioNTech vaccine from the US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is all set to come to India, to ease the vaccine shortage that the country is currently facing.

Pfizer has apparently promised to supply 50 million COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021. However, the company has laid out a few conditions, before they deliver, sources told repost on Wednesday, May 27.

The pharma company has asked for relaxations in some clauses, including indemnification for its shots, sources informed.

Meanwhile, Moderna, another pharmaceutical giant in the US, sources said is expecting to start manufacturing its COVID-19 vaccines in India following analysis with Cipla, a pharmaceutical company based in Mumbai, among other Indian firms.

Earlier, both drugmakers had allegedly refused to send vaccines directly to the state governments of Delhi and Punjab, claiming that they will only deal with the central government.

“We have spoken to Pfizer and Moderna for vaccines, and both the companies have refused to sell vaccines directly to us. They have said that they will deal with the Government of India alone,” Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said on Monday, May 25.

India is moving towards vaccine sufficiency as inoculations with the Russian vaccine Sputnik V began in the country earlier this month.

India and Russia are planning to manufacture around 35-40 million doses every month that will start from August or September.

Before the transfer of technology in August for local production, Russia will send close to 18 million Sputnik V doses to India – 3 million in May, 5 million in June and 10 million in July, said sources.

On May 24, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and Panacea Biotec, one of the leading pharmaceutical producers in India, had launched the production of the Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine.

Other sites of production of the Sputnik V vaccines are – Hetero Biologics, Virchow Biotech, Gland Pharma, Stelis Biopharma and Shilpa Medicare.

India has also been using two vaccines – Covishield by the Serum Institute of India (SII) and Covaxin by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech. According to the sources, India is expected to produce approximately 20-25 crore vaccines per month.

Sources informed that two next-generation vaccines will also be made in India. One is the DNA vaccine by Zydus Cadila and the other is an mRNA vaccine by Gennova Biopharmaceuticals Ltd. Both vaccines have shown promise and are expected to reduce international dependence for the supply of doses.