India has forwarded a proposal to the US, according legal indemnity to Moderna for shipping its COVID-19 vaccine, albeit with specific conditions.
The proposal, which has been further sent to the Massachusetts-based drugmaker, will be taken up by its board of directors and once granted approval, will enable immediate import by India of around seven million doses of the company's vaccine.
"The Indian government has agreed to the indemnity clause in the best way we could. There were certain country-specific changes we wanted and we have gone ahead with such a proposal," a senior government official told the Economic Times.
The development comes briefly after Mansukh Mandaviya took charge as health minister. Last week, India's drug controller had granted approval to the import of Moderna's mRNA COVID-19 vaccine through Cipla. However, the US biotech major demanded legal indemnity in the country before making its vaccine available.
The government said on Friday that it is working actively with Moderna to see how its vaccine can be imported and made available in the country.
"Moderna vaccine is under emergency use authorisation. The government is working actively with the manufacturers to see how to make dis vaccine available in the country, importing it into the country, those efforts are on the process that has to be gone through is being actively pursued," said VK Paul, member, Niti Aayog, on Friday.
Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine was granted emergency use authorisation last month. Government officials said if the company gives its consent to the proposal, it may set a precedent for the other US drugmakers Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson to bring their coronavirus vaccines to India.
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