A vaccine against Covid-19 can cover priority groups in India by June next year if inoculation is quickly ramped up to roughly the same level as the 1 million coronavirus tests conducted each day in the country, Fitch Solutions said on Monday.
“India’s role in the global Covid-19 vaccine rollout will be significant both as a recipient of the medicine as well as a producer,” Fitch said in a report.
Fitch Solutions provides strategists, economists and market intelligence professionals with actionable insight. Specializing in emerging markets, we integrate political, macroeconomic and industry expertise into all our analysis to deliver a comprehensive perspective of risks and opportunities.
India, it said, has one of the largest vaccine manufacturing capacities in the world (including the largest vaccine producer – Serum Institute India, SII) and has secured authorisation to mass-produce the AstraZeneca, Novavax and Gamaleya Research Institute vaccines.
India’s vaccine rollout will begin in first quarter of 2021 (January to March), with frontline healthcare workers and individuals over the age of 50 years gaining priority.
Fitch said the government aims to vaccinate some 25 crore people over six-to-eight months, which is “a lofty goal”.
“However, if India can quickly ramp up vaccinations to roughly the same level as the 1 million (10 lakh) Covid-19 tests it conducts each day, then we expect coverage across priority groups can be achieved by June 2021,” it said.
The first Covid-19 vaccine approval (based on Phase III data) was announced on December 2, 2020 by the UK’s medicine regulator MHRA.
“We expect further approvals from various national regulators and for different vaccines over late 2020 and throughout 2021 as candidates reach clinical endpoints,” it said adding many of the vaccines use the same approach of targeting the spike protein of the virus structure - an approach that has shown to be successful so far.
“We believe this is largely due to the ability to pay and the commercially focussed approach adopted by the vaccine developers which will be the first to gain approval,” it said. “This theme also applies to Asia where some countries have secured access to vaccines while others have not.”
“We expect that, as these populations gradually reach protection, governments eager to return to economic normality will look to begin easing restrictions,” Fitch said. “Different countries will enact this easing at different paces depending on the progress of vaccine rollout.”