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Pfizer vaccine unlikely to be available in India for long; here’s why

Updated : December 02, 2020 07:10 PM IST

The United Kingdom has authorised Pfizer and BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, becoming the first country in the world to approve a COVID-19 vaccine for human use. Pfizer had claimed 95 percent efficacy of its vaccine.

However, there are multiple reasons why Pfizer vaccine is unlikely to be available in India for long. Firstly, Pfizer has not applied for or done any bridge clinical trials in India.

Secondly, the tough storage transport requirement for Pfizer vaccine makes it a difficult one for mass immunisation plans for a country like India. The vaccine needs ultra-cold chain of above minus 70 degrees, which is lacking in India.

A third deterrent for now is also the price. With nearly USD 20 per dose, it is costlier than the others under consideration.

The Indian government currently is prioritizing vaccines undergoing clinical trials in India. Vinod Paul, who is heading the National Taskforce and also heading the team for vaccine supply chain, in a recent interview to CNBC-TV18 said that they are expecting at least one vaccine in early 2021.

While multiple vaccines are in the pipeline, optimistically the government is looking at the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine which Serum Institute is concluding phase three trials for in India. It is expected to make regulatory submission in two weeks.

Bharat Biotech is in the third phase of trials and the Russian Sputnik V vaccine has just begun phase 2/3 trials in India.

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