India, in dire straits due to the Covid-19 situation, needs millions of vaccines to inoculate its people

To boost India’s ongoing vaccination drive, especially when the country is grappling with the second wave of coronavirus, the US is mulling joint production of Johnson & Johnson’s Covid-19 vaccine with India as well as help Indian manufacturers such as the Serum Institute of India to ramp up production.

“I know [the US International] Development Finance Corporation (DFC) is looking at how we can invest so that we can help produce the Johnson & Johnson vaccine here in India,” US chargé d’affaires to India, Daniel Smith said during a virtual news briefing on Tuesday.

According to him, the US stockpile of AstraZeneca vaccines estimated to be 10 million doses cannot be shared with other countries before the FDA certifies the vaccines as safe and effective amid issues with the plant that produced the vaccines.

“The Biden administration is working on the Indian government’s list of urgently needed raw materials and other supplies to produce vaccines,” Smith said.

Following the first meeting of the Quad leaders in March, the group declared that the DFC would assist India’s Biological E in producing a billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines, which will be rolled out by the end of 2022 under a new Indo-Pacific vaccine partnership.

With funding from the US and Japan, the initiative aimed to build additional manufacturing capacity in India to produce doses produced in the US, including the Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.