Quad partners will also cooperate to strengthen "last-mile” vaccination

Hyderabad-based Biological E Ltd will manufacture 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines under the Quad Vaccine Partnership announced on Friday.

The US Development Finance Corporation will assist Biological E in keeping up the commitment, it was decided in the first leaders summit of Quad countries India, the US, Australia and Japan.

The four countries agreed to pool their financial resources, manufacturing capacities and logistical strengths to ramp up manufacture and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across the region as part of efforts to boost post-pandemic recovery, a fact sheet on the summit issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.

The initiative will create additional manufacturing capacities in India, the world’s largest producer of vaccines, to make doses developed in the US, including the Johnson & Johnson candidate. This will be done with financing from the US and Japan.

The United States, through the DFC (Development Finance Corporation), will work with Biological E Ltd., to finance increased capacity to support Biological E’s effort to produce at least 1 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2022 with Stringent Regulatory Authorization (SRA) and/or World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use Listing (EUL), including the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Biological E Ltd is the largest manufacturer of tetanus vaccines and snake venom antidote in India.

Japan, through JICA (Japan international Cooperation Agency), is in discussions to provide concessional yen loans for the Government of India to expand manufacturing for COVID-19 vaccines for export, with a priority on producing vaccines that have received authorization from WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL) or Stringent Regulatory Authorities.

Quad partners will also cooperate to strengthen "last-mile” vaccination, building on existing health-security and development programs, and across the governments to coordinate and strengthen their programs in the Indo-Pacific.

This includes supporting countries with vaccine readiness and delivery, vaccine procurement, health workforce preparedness, responses to vaccine misinformation, community engagement, immunization capacity, and more.

Australia will contribute US$77 million for the provision of vaccines and "last-mile” delivery support with a focus on Southeast Asia.

This will be in addition to its existing commitment of US$407 million for regional vaccine access and health security which will provide full vaccine coverage to nine Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste, and support procurement, prepare for vaccine delivery, and strengthen health systems in Southeast Asia.