India will export batches of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to low and middle-income countries as early as Wednesday, according to a Reuters report.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine was granted emergency use authorization by the World Health Organization in India on Jan. 6, according to Reuters. The current distribution plan from one of the world’s leading drug manufacturers opens the door for nations that have limited to no access to or adequate storage for vaccines.
Bhutan, a small nation in Southeast Asia, will receive the first batch of exports, according to unnamed government officials, who requested anonymity until formal announcements were made in India, Reuters reported. Bangladesh is set to receive the next batch of vaccines on Thursday.
“Bangladesh will receive 2 million doses of Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines from India as a gift on Jan. 21,” the officials said.
The Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca and produced by the Serum Institute of India (SII), can be stored at refrigerator temperature, making it a more practical option for lower-income nations than the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, which require storage temperatures of -94 degrees Fahrenheit and -4 degrees Fahrenheit respectively, per Reuters.
India has received requests from a number of nations such as Brazil, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Myanmar and the Maldives for vaccine delivery, according to Reuters. The country has also launched the world’s largest vaccine drive to bolster trust in the safety of vaccines. (RELATED: People With Prior COVID-19 Infection Are As Protected Against Reinfection As Those Who Have Been Vaccinated, Study Shows)
“We are launching the world’s biggest vaccination drive and it shows the world our capability,” said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an address to healthcare workers.
India’s vaccination program aims to vaccinate 300 million people by July 2021, Reuters reported.
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