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Asia Minute

Asia Minute: India Buys Most COVID-19 Vaccines in the World

AP Photo/Taimy Alvarez, File

Vaccines for COVID-19 have moved from testing to injecting. The vaccine is not yet available in the United States — and the country that has bought the most doses in the world is on the other side of the world.

India has purchased more Covid-19 vaccines than any other country.

That word comes from the Duke University Global Health Innovation Center — which estimates India has some 1.6 billion doses.

The country is already a key part of the production chain of vaccine manufacturing — the journal Nature says India produces 60% of the global supply of all vaccines. The Duke report says it’s that domination of manufacturing that gives India leverage when it comes to the ability to acquire large numbers of dosages.

The Serum Institute of India is manufacturing the Oxford University/Astra-Zeneca vaccine and another version done by Novavax.

Another Indian company, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, is manufacturing Russia’s Sputnik vaccine.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi told reporters that eight COVID-19 vaccines are at different stages of development in the country — including three indigenous vaccines.

Among other challenges when it comes to delivery is the ability to keep vaccines at the ultra-cold temperatures required by the Pfizer version — others do not need such intense refrigeration.

Another complicating factor: India’s growing case count.

The country is approaching 10-million cases — second only to the United States.

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