India expects many more Covid-19 vaccines produced in-country to be available to the world soon, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday.
Addressing the World Economic Forum's Davos 2021, he said India had saved many lives around the world by distributing vaccines it had made and building related infrastructure.
India makes about 60 per cent of the world's vaccines and has approved two Covid-19 vaccines so far – one developed in India called Covaxin and the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine that was developed in the UK – but trials are under way to expand this number.
Despite having the second highest number of cases globally, India has distributed vaccines to countries including Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Mauritius and Sri Lanka.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine, branded in India as Covishield, is being produced at the Serum Institute of India.
“All at the WEF will be relieved to know that, while so far only two made-in-India Covid vaccines have been introduced to the world, in the near future many more such vaccines will be made available from India,” Mr Modi said.
“These vaccines will help us in assisting countries across the world faster and on a much bigger scale.”
There are about 173,000 active Covid-19 cases in India. It has reported 10.7 million infections and 153,847 deaths.
India launched the world’s largest vaccination drive on January 16 and is aiming to inoculate 300 million elderly people and those most at risk by July.
In 12 days the country has vaccinated more than 2.3 million of its health workers, Mr Modi said. However, surveys show that many Indians – potentially more than half – are hesitant about being vaccinated, and concerns have been raised that Covaxin was rushed through the approval process.