Asia Minute: India Pushing Ahead with Astra-Zeneca, Other Vaccines

Feb 10, 2021

The state Department of Health says more than 210,000 COVID-19 vaccines have now been distributed around Hawaii. Those shots continue with a combination of the Pfizer and the Moderna vaccines.

Elsewhere, other vaccines are in use, and that includes the country with the second-highest number of cases — trailing only the United States.


India is doubling down on the AstraZeneca vaccine — ordering another 10-million doses, even while South Africa is delaying its use after it was found to be less effective in dealing with the South African variant of the virus.

On Tuesday, India’s government announced it is moving ahead with AstraZeneca as part of its national vaccination program.

The country has already inoculated 6.3 million front line workers in the last three and a half weeks. Plans are to complete the outreach to the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions by the end of next month, and to cover 300-million people by the end of August.

The operation is also currently using a domestically-developed vaccine called Covaxin — developed by the Indian company Bharat Biotech and the state-run Indian Council of Medical Research.

Reuters reports the government just ordered an additional 4.5 million doses of Covaxin, which is also being tested in Brazil and considered for emergency authorization in the Philippines.

The Times of India quotes a government official involved in vaccine distribution as saying there are 6 to 7 other products that are in various stages of potential approval for the Indian market.

They range from Russia’s Sputnik vaccine to one made by Zydus Cadila — another Indian company.