The GAVI Vaccine Alliance hopes deliveries of COVID-19 vaccines from India can be resumed in the third quarter of this year, it said on Tuesday, after the pandemic-battered country halted exports to focus on its own surge in infections.
“We remain in regular and close contact with both the government and SII (Serum Institute of India), and remain hopeful that deliveries could resume, in reduced quantity, in the third quarter,” GAVI told Reuters.
Reuters reported earlier that India is unlikely to resume major exports of COVID-19 vaccines until at least October as it diverts shots for domestic use, a longer-than-expected delay set to worsen supply shortages from the global COVAX initiative which is jointly run by GAVI and the World Health Organization.
Battling the world’s biggest jump in coronavirus infections, India halted vaccine exports a month ago after donating or selling more than 66 million doses.
The move has left countries including Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and many in Africa scrambling for alternate supplies.
One of Africa’s most senior health officials said an extended halt of exports from India risked damaging vaccination efforts in the continent, which is already facing supply and financial constraints.
“This is very problematic as it means unpredictability of our vaccination programs and a serious risk of not achieving our stated target ... on time,” the director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, John Nkengasong, told Reuters.