Serum Institute to Give 10 Million Free Doses to India, Brings Up Indemnity Issue with Govt, Say Sources

Sneha Mordani
·2-min read

New Delhi : In a top-level meeting that took place on Monday at the health ministry, certain modalities of the export policy of the Indian government with regards to the Covid-19 vaccine were worked out.

Sources privy to the discussions told News18, that Bharat Biotech will provide 8.1 lakh doses to Myanmar, Mongolia, Oman, Bahrain, Philippines, Maldives, Mauritius as a goodwill gesture.

A meeting to discuss this was earlier held on January 15, where the National Expert Group On Vaccine Administration for Covid-19, the expert group on vaccines had spoken about the need to help other countries and ensure a grant in aid. The procurement, this meeting had decided, would be done by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Also read: 'Our Data Open. Don't Drag Us Into Politics. We're Scientists': Bharat Biotech Chiefs Hit out at Detractors

In Monday's meeting, sources said, the Serum Institute of India (SII) raised the issue of indemnification again. It is noteworthy that the Indian government, in its purchase agreement, has said that the liabilities of any adverse event will be borne by the vaccine company and not the government. This applies to both Bharat Biotech and the SII. The SII CEO Adar Poonawalla, has in the past, spoken about the need to protect vaccine companies in case of liabilities related to adverse events involving the vaccine.

SII, the sources said, spoke about the obligation under the COVAX facility, coordinated by the World Health Organization. SII has committed a supply of 10 million doses free to India under COVAX.

SII indicated that 11 million doses have been provided to India already. Currently there are 53 million doses available in stocks that are labeled and are cleared by Central Drugs Laboratory. They have 25 million doses allotted for exports and the remaining 25 million doses can be allocated for India.

For the government to government supplies, SII will supply the vaccine to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and Seychelles.

It is likely that the export of vaccines, both by Bharat Biotech and SII will start by the end of January. Bharat Biotech, will start to provide 8.1 lakh doses to the MEA by January 22.