India signs purchase order with Serum for AstraZeneca vaccine – source

FILE PHOTO: Vials with a sticker reading, “COVID-19 / Coronavirus vaccine / Injection only” and a medical syringe are seen in front of a displayed AstraZeneca logo in this illustration taken October 31, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

BENGALURU/MUMBAI (Reuters) – India’s government has signed a purchase order with vaccine producer Serum Institute for doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

Television channel CNBC-TV 18 said the order was for 11 million doses.

The government has also signed a purchase agreement with Indian firm Bharat Biotech for its COVID-19 vaccine, the news channel reported, citing unnamed sources.

Representatives for Serum, Bharat Biotech and India’s health ministry did not immediately respond to Reuters requests for comment.

India’s drug regulator had earlier this month given emergency use approval for both vaccines.

The government aims to secure 600 million doses for India’s vaccination drive that aims to inoculate 300 million citizens over the next six to eight months. The immunization programme is expected to begin on Jan. 16.

At nearly 10.5 million, India has the world’s second highest number of novel coronavirus infections behind the United States, although the country’s rate of increase in cases has been slowing.

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