India poised to take the lead in vaccine distribution to Asia-Pacific: Moody’s Analytics

Asia

India was well-positioned to take the lead in vaccine distribution for exports to the Asia-Pacific region in the coming months, along with China, according to a Moody’s Analytics note released on Monday.

“As the largest producer of vaccines in the world, with 60% of the global share, India is well-positioned to use its existing manufacturing capabilities to contribute to mass vaccine production and distribution needs for other countries in addition to meeting its domestic requirements,” the note said.

“With exports of the COVID-19 vaccines expected to begin soon, India (along with China) look set to take the lead in driving the region’s distribution efforts in the months ahead,” Shahana Mukherjee and Denise Cheok, economists with the analytics arm of the global rating agency said in the note.

The firm termed India’s advancement towards the inoculation drive that began on Saturday as a “crucial development”, considering India was the second-most impacted country in the world, after the US, adding that the move would eventually soften the severity of the pandemic within the region.

However, “Scepticism and questions regarding efficacy and safety remain pertinent, which could hamper the broader acceptance of certain vaccines within the region,” it noted, citing the mixed reports on the effectiveness of China’s Sinovac vaccine that set back the vaccination efforts in countries considering its use as part of their inoculation drive.

ET reported that some states were facing issues in attaining their vaccination targets as beneficiaries were hesitant to sign the consent forms. Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Bihar, which started administering Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, achieved less than 50% of their day one targets on this account.

Further, India reported 447 adverse events following immunisation within the first two days of the programme, according to additional health secretary, Manohar Agnani. The figure represented 0.19% of the total beneficiaries vaccinated.

According to the Moody’s Analytics note, short term risks from intensifying domestic outbreaks in some countries like Japan, Malaysia and South Korea could hamper their March quarter recovery, but the potential upsides to the Asia-Pacific recovery in the second half of 2021 have not appreciably shifted the firm’s outlook.

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