The Punjab government has decided to approach Covax to procure vaccine supply. Not only Punjab, but several states in India are also facing a vaccine shortage. Many states have expressed their intention to import vaccines from abroad. But it is not easy to procure vaccines from a global facility. The WHO-led facility is operating only at the level of nations. It supplies vaccines to only national governments. However, it seems the states’ urge to buy vaccines at the global level won’t bear fruit. Getting vaccines on their own is a bit tough task for the states right now.
Why does Punjab want to Join Covax Facility?
Punjab and other states approaching Covax are obvious. India is facing an extreme vaccine shortage. This is the main reason behind the states procuring their own vaccines. About 22 lakh doses are currently administering on a daily basis in India. This is not at all enough for the country. Last month 35 lakh doses were administered on an average basis. Experts suggest that India must administer nearly 10 million doses a day. But the situation is completely opposite in the country right now. There are no vaccines at the vaccination centers. Some people say it’s the government’s fault. Others blame production and manufacture. Moreover, some people are doubtful about vaccines.
Covid Vaccines in India
Currently in India, two vaccines are dominating the market. Firstly, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin. And secondly, Serum Institute’s Covishield. Several other vaccines like Russia’s Sputnik V are also in the pipeline. However, the Indian government is planning to administer more Covid vaccines from global manufacturers. The government had a conversation with Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson recently. If everything goes as per plan, India will receive 216 crore doses between August and December 2021. Although, the national government has not approached Covax yet.
What Punjab Seeks
Punjab has shown its interest in joining the Covax facility. However, it is unsure whether the state is currently eligible or not. The WHO-led facility is also struggling at the moment to get vaccines from the manufacturers. Currently, fourteen vaccines have earned approval for vaccination globally. Punjab decided to approach the global facility amid the vaccine crisis in India. The states are not able to receive enough doses for vaccination. Due to this reason, the vaccination drive is slow.
What is Covax?
Covax is a WHO-led facility that was established in 2020. Its partners are GAVI and CEPI. GAVI stands for Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. On the other hand, CEPI means Coalition Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. The sole motive of the organization is to look after vaccine production and its equitable supply. Many countries have benefitted through this global facility, especially the poorer ones. Covax buys vaccines from the manufacturers and allocates them to different countries for free. It makes sure at least the most vulnerable population is vaccinated.