White House Silent On Lifting Ban On Vaccine Raw Materials Export To India, Fear Of Price Rise Looms Large
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The White House on Monday refused to comment on requests made by Serum institute of India to lift ban on export of raw materials
On Monday, the White House refused to comment on requests made by the Serum Institute of India to lift the ban on the export of raw materials needed urgently to increase the production of vaccines. India currently is experiencing a severe COVID wave and now accounts for almost one-third of the daily cases worldwide. The recent announcement by the Indian government on the availability of vaccination for everyone above 18 years of age from 01st May bears significance as the demand and the target pool of population who will be eligible for the vaccine will go up considerably.
Vaccine Becomes Victim To Trade
The question on export of essential raw materials needed for vaccine production was asked twice on Monday - once during the morning White House briefing on COVID-19 and later during the daily news conference by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki. "The Serum Institute of India has been saying that the Biden administration is blocking exports of raw materials that it needs to make COVID vaccines, and the Serum Institute has also urged President Biden to lift that embargo. So I wanted to ask which raw materials are at issue here? And do you have any plans to address Serum's concerns?" asked a reporter during the morning news conference by the White House COVID-19 Response Team. Reported by NDTV. However there was no concrete answer in response to the same by Dr Anthony Fauci, Director at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Raw Materials, Price & Supply Chain Pressure
Importantly India's share of the vaccinated population is considerably low at 7.7 %; relatively, UK has vaccinated 48.2%, 38.2% for the United States and 18.9% for Germany. The recent announcement to liberalize vaccine procurement and sales are welcome, the genuine fear of overpriced vaccines persists. Besides, the low availability of raw materials for vaccine production will further put upward pressure on the vaccine prices. To know the extent to which vaccines prices could go up, a look at the global vaccine prices will be helpful. Pfizer's vaccine's price is $19.50 per dose, Johnson & Johnson's vaccine - $ 10 per dose; in comparison with Indian prices, it is about 3 $ per dose.
Also Read: India's Covid Surge Is Devastating, Needs A Collective Effort To Overcome