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India to be Biggest Buyer of COVID-19 Vaccine

India is the largest buyer of COVID-19 vaccines in the world with 1.6 billion doses, according to a global analysis, a number some scientists say could cover 800 million people, or 60 per cent of its population, and will be enough to develop ‘herd immunity’.

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India has purchased 500 million doses of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate, one billion from the US company Novavax and 100 million doses of the Sputnik V candidate from Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute, according to the US-based Duke University Global Health Innovation Center.

The ‘Launch and Scale Speedometer’ analysis, which is updated every two weeks, shows India has confirmed 1.6 billion doses of three vaccines as of November 30 while the US and the EU have purchased doses of six candidates.

According to the analysis, India is the top COVID-19 vaccine buyer followed by the European Union which has confirmed 1.58 billion doses and the US, the worst affected country so far, that has managed to purchase just over a billion doses.

As countries strategise to secure more shots to protect their populations against the novel coronavirus infection, Duke University has released a new global assessment of purchasing agreements for COVID-19 vaccines, even before any candidates are in the market.

India’s domestic vaccine candidate by Bharat Biotech also entered Phase 3 clinical trials this week. ‘Bharat Biotech and Zydus-Cadila would also add about 400 million doses annually. In brief, the numbers appear reasonable over 2021 and 2022,’ said Jameel, director of the Trivedi School of Biosciences, Ashoka University. ‘We can expect the first 250 million to be vaccinated in 2021; the remaining in the following years. 

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