To meet shortfall EU asks 10 million AstraZeneca vaccine from India
3 April, 2021Mumbai;The European Union has asked India to allow it to buy
10 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine from Serum Institute of India,
as per reports, the latest sign of growing pressure on Delhi to export more of its
production to other countries.
The EU wants the doses from Serum to offset supply shortfalls from AstraZeneca’s
European plants and speed up the bloc’s vaccine roll-out.
Any quick approval of the EU request is unlikely, however, with India scrambling to
expand its own domestic vaccination drive, said the Indian government official, who
asked not to be named as the discussions are private.
Britain is also pressuring India to export the second half of 10 million doses it
had ordered from Serum, the source said.
Serum was originally supposed to produce the AstraZeneca vaccine only for low and
“The EU ambassador wrote a letter, saying, please give us (export) approvals,” said
the source, adding the letter was sent around two weeks ago.
Serum, AstraZeneca and India’s foreign ministry did not respond to requests for
comment. A spokeswoman for the EU Commission said the Commission had no immediate
India, however, has said that it is now focused on expanding its own immunisation
drive as COVID-19 cases have surged since March.
Its decision to focus on its domestic needs, which came after the government was
criticised at home for shipping tens of millions of doses overseas, will also
affect the WHO-backed global network for vaccine distribution, known as COVAX.
The network aims to secure COVID-19 vaccines primarily for dozens of poorer
Production glitches have slowed vaccinations for the 450 million people in the
27-nation EU. The bloc’s per capita immunisation lags that of countries such as
Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States, according to the website Our
World in Data here.
India has so far exported 64 million vaccine doses to 83 countries, and
administered the same number of doses at home. Its inoculation drive expanded
from Thursday to include everyone above the age of 45, which is expected to raise
vaccine demand substantially.