91 Nations vulnerable to new strain due to Indian vaccine export ban

91 Nations are vulnerable to the B1.617.2 strain after India has stopped export of vaccines claimed WHO: After being hit by the deadly and life taking second wave, New Delhi has banned all exports and started redirecting supplies for domestic use. India’s decision to ban exports and redirect supplies for domestic use has made a severe impact on those 91 Nations who were totally dependent on products of Serum Institute of India (SII), Covishield or AstraZeneca and the upcoming Novavax.

Without sufficient stocks these counties which are majorly African will remain Susceptible to the deadly B1.617.2 variant which was primarily found in India, said WHO . As per a chief scientist of World Health Organization, “91 countries are impacted by the shortage of supplies, particularly since the AstraZeneca parent company has not been able to compensate for the doses which have not come from Serum,” . The scientist stated that these nations are very vulnerable to new and more Transmissible strains including the B1.617.2 variant also.

The scientist added, “not just B.1.617.2, but other variants will emerge in other countries and spread around the world…We know that these variants spread very quickly. Even before they can be recognised, they are already spreading around the world. The same thing happened with the 117 [variant], now dominant“. As per an agreement signed between AstraZeneca and Serum Institute of India(SII) , SII was expected to supply a billion doses for low and middle income countries, with a commitment to provide 400 million doses by 2020 i.e. last year. All of this was to be delivered by Gavi, an international vaccine alliance.

The scientist also said that “most African countries, unfortunately, have vaccinated less than 0.5 per cent of their populations and haven’t even vaccinated all their healthcare workers,“.She also added that “if we continue having this inequitable distribution of available vaccines, we will see some countries going back to some degree of normalcy in their life, while other countries are hit very hard and continue to be hit hard by subsequent waves,“.

But after being hit heavily by the second wave, India stopped exports of it’s vaccines and redirected those for domestic use for vaccinating the natives. In this process, the nations which were dependent on Gavi and on Indian vaccines were left amid. As per some data, rich nations like US, UK, Israel, Canada and the European Union already ordered millions of vaccines from multiple vendors even before the vaccines were approved.

Now when there are no more options for the other countries, WHO has said that it hopes India will continue it’s exports again maybe somewhere at last of this year so that the other nations could also be vaccinated. The institution is “really going out with a plea to all countries to share their doses so that vulnerable groups can be protected before we start expanding to other groups such as children“. By the end of May, India has vaccinated about 3.5% of it’s total population. Indian government has also estimated that by the end of 2021 it will vaccinate every Indian.