India temporarily halts Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine exports

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India has put a temporary hold on all major exports of the AstraZenecacoronavirus vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India (SII) amid an increase in domestic demand due to a surge in infection.

It will also affect supplies to Gavi, the World Health Organisation (WHO)-backed vaccine alliance, through which more than 190 participating economies – 98 higher-income and 92 low and middle-income — are expected to get doses.

“We understand that deliveries of Covid-19 vaccines to lower-income economies participating in the Covax facility will likely face delays following a setback in securing export licences for further doses of Covid-19 vaccines produced by the Serum Institute of India, expected to be shipped in March and April,” the programme’s procurement and distributing partner Unicef told Reuters.

“Covax is in talks with the Government of India with a view to ensuring deliveries as quickly as possible,” Unicef said.

British authorities are in touch with New Delhi to get the second batch of five million doses which were ordered from SII and have been held up by four weeks, according to Reuters.

The vaccine manufacturer has already delayed the AstraZeneca vaccine shipment to Brazil, Britain, Morocco and Saudi Arabia.

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