WHO says India in talks to join Covax vaccine scheme

GENEVA (REUTERS) – The World Health Organisation is in talks with India about joining the Covax global vaccine allocation plan, a senior WHO adviser said on Monday (Sept 7).

“India is certainly eligible, like all countries in the world, to be part of the Covax facility and discussions are ongoing in that regard,” Bruce Aylward told a briefing in Geneva.

“We would welcome Indian participation …India has extensive experience (with vaccines).”

The WHO and the GAVI vaccine alliance are leading the Covax facility, aimed at helping buy and distribute vaccination shots against the novel coronavirus fairly around the world.

But some countries that have secured their own supplies through bilateral deals, including the United States, have said they will not join Covax.

India on Monday overtook Brazil in coronavirus infection numbers, making it second only to the United States after a record jump, but the government resumed underground train services and announced plans to re-open the Taj Mahal this month.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, faced with a pandemic that is showing no sign of abating, has chosen to end most curbs in a bid to resuscitate an economy in deep trouble after a severe lockdown.

The world’s second-most populous country posted more than 90,000 cases on Monday, taking its tally past 4.2 million, more than 68,000 ahead of Brazil, which will issue its latest figures later in the day.

At current rates, India could exceed the US figure of 6.2 million by next month as the disease spreads from the big cities of Delhi and Mumbai to the vast hinterland where two-thirds of India’s 1.3 billion people live, experts say.

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