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India, Oxford numbers see dip, but still on top; Pfizer gains most


(This story originally appeared in on Dec 14, 2020)

BENGALURU: Overall global orders to secure vaccines shrunk 19.2 million doses to touch 7.1 billion as of December 11, compared to 7.12 billion as of November 30. India, which had deals for 1.6 billion doses by the end of last month has 1.5 billion as per data from Duke University’s Launch & Scale Speedometer, which is tracking global vaccine deals daily.

Analysis of contracts countries are signing with vaccine makers for advance booking of candidates shows that the deals are still fluid, changing in a matter of days with some companies gaining and some losing orders given that most candidates are still in trial stage.

Among vaccine makers, orders with Oxford-AstraZeneca shrunk more than 30 million doses to touch 2.47 billion, compared to 2.5 billion as of November 30, while Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the only to be administered to people so far, saw additional orders for 73.2 million to touch 719 million as of December 11. Moderna saw fresh deals for 29 million doses.


However, both Oxford and India are on top of the table. While Oxford still has orders for the most number of doses, India, as an individual country has contracts for the most with only the EU region, with 85 million more doses, ahead.

Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute, the maker of Sputnik-V, lost orders for 153 million doses — including 100 million doses from India. In India, Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s lab is conducting local trials of Sputnik-V.

Deals oscillating

TOI has been tracking the Launch & Scale Speedometer, which so far has the most comprehensive data on global deals with regular updates. Data showed that compared to November 30, the overall vaccines doses for which contracts existed jumped by 171 million as of December 4, before dipping to the current level.

On December 4, Oxford-Astrazeneca still had contracts for their 2.5 billion doses, while India was to still secure 1.6 billion. Pfizer had seen a slight jump from 646 million on November 30 to 656 million doses before crossing the 700 million mark as per the December 11 analysis. And Gamaleya’s order had actually increased slightly from the 300 million it had by the end of last month.

Not to affect India

While no immediate reasons for the Sputnik V deal going off the table were available, experts TOI spoke with said that the dip in numbers won’t affect India’s vaccination plans.

“At this moment, plans indicate that we would need about 600 million doses for the first few phases (two doses each) and there are more vaccine candidates entering trials,” one expert advising the government said.

India’s health secretary Rajesh Bhushan had indicated at a press conference last week that the country plans to inoculate about 30 crore people in the first three rounds — 3 crore healthcare and frontline workers and about 27 crore people with comorbidities aged above 50 years.

On December 1, Dr Reddy’s lab had said that it had got clearance for phase 2/3 clinical trials, and experts indicated that procurement of this candidate may happen in the future.

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