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Supply from India to Morocco of commercially contracted COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covishield’ commenced today

Embassy of India


Press Release

Supply from India to Morocco of commercially contracted COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covidshield’ commenced today

The first consignment containing 2 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine ‘Covishield’ developed by AstraZeneca and University of Oxford and produced by Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine producer was shipped from India for Morocco today. Morocco and Brazil are among the few countries to whom the early commercial export of COVID-19 vaccine has been authorized by the Government of India.

This decision is yet another manifestation of the excellent relations between India and Morocco. Earlier, the Government of India had licensed export of 6 million tablets of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to the Kingdom of Morocco. Several training courses were organized for healthcare workers and administrators of partner countries including Morocco under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme. Prior to the delivery of vaccines, a training programme, covering administrative and operational aspects, was conducted on 19-20 January 2021 for immunization managers, cold chain officers, communication officers and data managers of the recipient countries, both at national and provincial levels.

India ranks among the top pharmaceuticals producing nations globally, and is widely recognised as the “pharmacy of the world”. The strength of the Indian pharmaceutical industry has enabled the country to not only meet the vast requirements of its own population but also export critical medicines to several friendly countries.

India is one of the world’s largest vaccine producers. 60% of global vaccine production comes from India. Indian producers supply 1.5 billion doses annually to more than 150 countries. India is the largest supplier of the DPT, BCG and Measles vaccines globally. WHO sources 70% of its essential immunisation vaccines from India.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted India’s position as a reliable stakeholder in global healthcare supply chains with major strengths in manufacturing, R&D and innovation.

6 vaccine candidates, inclusive of 3 indigenously developed ones are in clinical stages of development and 3 vaccine candidates are in advanced pre-clinical stage of development. Two vaccines COVAXIN by Bharat Biotech and Covidshield by AstraZeneca-Oxford-Serum Institute received Emergency Use Authorization on 2nd January 2021.

The Government of India had received several requests for the supply of Indian manufactured vaccines from neighboring and key partner countries. In response to these requests, and in keeping with India’s stated commitment to use India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity to help all of humanity fight the Covid pandemic, supplies under grant assistance to Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Myanmar and Seychelles began from 20 January 2021. In respect of Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Mauritius, confirmation of necessary regulatory clearances are awaited. Supply of commercially contracted quantities also commenced from 22 January 2021, starting with Brazil and Morocco, followed by South Africa and Saudi Arabia.

Major Indian vaccine manufacturers including Serum Institute, Bharat Biotech, Panacea Biotech, Sanofis Shanta Biotech, Biological E, Hester Biosciences and ZydusCadila have an installed capacity to make 8.2 billion doses of different vaccines in a year. The Pune-based Serum Institute is the world’s largest vaccine maker by number of doses produced and sold globally.

The Indian vaccine industry, through scale and economies, has impacted not just availability of vaccines in global vaccine market but has brought down prices. For example, India was able to manufacture and sell the Rotavac vaccine at almost one-fifteenth of the then-market cost in 2013.

India’s vaccine capacity and its ability to deliver safe and low-cost vaccines rapidly has been leveraged by global health bodies and non-state actors. Gavi, the vaccine initiative, WHO and the Gates Foundation all source vaccines in bulk from India. It has the largest number of manufacturers who have been prequalified by WHO for international procurement for low and middle income countries. 

Most of these vaccines are for the global South.

India is, because of its strengths in the biopharmaceutical and vaccines domains, one of the major centres in the transnational efforts to counter the pandemic. India will make its vaccine strengths available to the international community for combating the COVID pandemic. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said while launching India’s domestic vaccination drive on January 18 that “We are committed that India's vaccines, our production capacity, serve the interest of the whole humanity.”

22 January, 2021

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