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'No to vaccine nationalism': Bharat Biotech chief wants to be part of WHO's Covax programme


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HYDERABAD: Dispelling the idea of 'vaccine nationalism', Bharat Biotech managing director Krishna Ella said that the company wishes to be a part of the World Health Organisation's Covax programme -- an effort for getting COVID-19 vaccines to poorer nations.

Ella, who was speaking at BioAsia 2021's panel discussion 'Immunizing the World', said, "We do not have any nationalism as such. We want to be a part of WHO's Covax movement. We are also looking to partner with WHO regarding our nasal vaccine which is in the works."

'Vaccine nationalism' refers to a country securing doses for its own citizens and prioritising its domestic markets before they are made available for other countries. On the other hand, the Covax programme aims to get COVID-19 shots to at least 20 per cent of the population from the world's poorest countries.

He termed the current vaccine distribution system as 'unorganised' due to the shortage in vaccine supply. "Every country has become desperate. They are trying out different models. In the next 5-6 months, the moment there is enough vaccine supply, it will become more streamlined," he said.

World Health Organisation chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan who was also taking part in the discussion said that the body will be setting up a committee to study COVID-19 mutations "because some of these mutations may have the capability to reduce the efficacy of the vaccines".

(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)