Tue | Nov 30, 2021

India temporarily halts Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine exports

Published:Wednesday | March 24, 2021 | 3:23 PM
Some 190 countries under the COVAX scheme are likely to be affected.

India has placed a temporary hold on all exports of the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine, foreign ministry sources have told the BBC.

They said rising cases meant domestic demand was expected to pick up in the coming weeks, and so the doses were needed for India's own rollout.

The move - described as a "temporary squeeze" by officials - is expected to affect supplies until the end of April.

Some 190 countries under the COVAX scheme are likely to be affected.

The scheme, which is led by the World Health Organization (WHO), aims to ensure vaccines are shared fairly among all nations.

India's largest vaccine manufacturer, the Serum Institute of India (SII), has delayed shipments of the AstraZeneca jab to several countries in recent days, including the UK and Brazil.

India has exported more than 60 million vaccine doses to 76 countries so far, with the majority of these being the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab.

The decision comes as India faces a surge in coronavirus cases.

On Wednesday it recorded its sharpest daily rise this year, with more than 47,000 new cases and 275 deaths.

It is opening up vaccinations for those over the age of 45 from 1 April, and officials expect demand for vaccinations to increase.

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