COVID-19 vaccine: India raises raw material export kinks with US

Siddhant Pandey
·2-min read

COVID-19 vaccine: India raises raw material export kinks with US
COVID-19 vaccine: India raises raw material export kinks with US

17 Mar 2021: COVID-19 vaccine: India raises raw material export kinks with US

India has raised the issue of hurdles in the export of raw material for COVID-19 vaccines with the United States.

Earlier, Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla had said that limited export of vaccine raw material was impacting the production of their COVID-19 vaccine Covishield.

Notably, Covishield is being used in vaccination drives in India and elsewhere.

Details: Issue has been taken up: Foreign Secretary

India's Ambassador to the US, Taranjit Singh Sandhu, raised the issue of export hurdles with the US government.

Foreign Secretary Harshvardhan Shringla said it was a bilateral issue, adding that it has been taken up.

A source told News18 that there has been no assurance from the US side of any easing out. It is a work in progress, the source said.

Context: Poonawalla had earlier raised concerns over US Defence Production Act

According to Poonawalla, the US government's move to invoke the Defence Production Act could lead to a shortage of cell culture media, single-use tubing assemblies, and also some specific chemicals from the US.

Speaking at a World Bank panel discussion on March 4, the SII CEO had publicly said that invoking the Act was leading to the limited production of Covishield.

US: 'No ban,' says US NSA

On Friday, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan had said, "I do not believe there is a ban."

However, the Act allows companies to accept and prioritize contracts for services and materials deemed necessary for national defense.

This prioritization is presenting a hurdle in the export of key raw materials for vaccines as the US tries to meet its own targets.

Fact: Expediting manufacturing to ensure 100M shots: White House in February

After the Act was invoked, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki had said in February, " means our work is ongoing with companies to ensure we're expediting the manufacturing of materials to ensure that we can get 100 million shots in the arms of Americans."

Quote: 'Ending pandemic Biden administration's top priority'

A US embassy spokesperson in India told News18, "The Biden administration's top priority is saving lives and ending the pandemic. The Biden administration also recognizes that COVID-19 is a global challenge that requires a global response."

"The President is deeply focused on the issue of expanding global vaccination, manufacturing, and delivery, which will all be critical to ending the pandemic," the spokesperson said.