Developing countries scrambled to keep their Covid-19 vaccinations on track Friday after India—a critical supplier to a United Nations-backed and Western-funded vaccine campaign—temporarily restricted exports.
The new vaccine limits by India, which is dealing with a resurgence of cases at home, intensified an already frenetic global race to secure vaccine doses, and could leave developing countries more dependent on China or Russia for their immunizations.
The Serum Institute of India, a private company, signed up to supply the vaccine developed by AstraZeneca PLC and the University of Oxford to 64 developing nations through Covax, the initiative created by the World Health Organization and two organizations working on vaccines.
Covax says it has shipped vaccines to more than 60 countries, including 28 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine made in India. The suspension of additional supplies means that a further 90 million doses due to be delivered in March and April will be postponed.
John Nkengasong, director of the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the disruption of vaccine flow, which exacerbates existing shortages on the continent, “leaves me personally with a sense of helplessness.” He said: “There is absolutely no need for us as the world…to go to a vaccine war.”