World Bank President David Malpass has said that with the Serum Institute, India is blessed to have a major manufacturer of global vaccines and he is encouraged by the country's ramping up of its domestic vaccination programme.
Malpass made the comments on Monday during a media roundtable ahead of the spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank.
“I've had substantial contact with the Serum Institute. India is blessed with having a major manufacturer of global vaccines in India,” he said.
Responding to a question, Malpass said that he has encouraged more transparency in terms of what the national requirements are for local production, and that extends to countries around the world.
“It hasn't been clear, whether in the United States or in Europe, or in South Africa, or in India, what the requirements are of their local production to meet local demands. I've been encouraged by India's ramping up of its domestic vaccination programme, and we're working with them on that. This is a high priority for the world,” Malpass said.
“Because capacity constraints are immense, it takes a lot of people to do the scale of vaccination campaign that we are conducting,” he said.
The Health Ministry on Saturday said that the India has administered a total of 7,06,18,026 COVID-19 vaccine doses till Friday.
As such, Malpass said it is important and vital to have early delivery of vaccines to developing countries because it's going to take a long time to actually do the vaccinations.
“So, I think one of the highest priorities for the world is to begin allowing the supply of vaccines to go to developing countries themselves, including the poorest countries, so that the vaccination process can get under way,” Malpass said.
By the middle of this year, he said, the World Bank will have 50 countries with the financing contracts in place that allow the funding to be used to buy vaccines as those become available from around the world. The bank is working actively on that, he said.
India, he said, is the World Bank's biggest programme, and as such he mentioned climate change issues.
“As we work with India and the transitions that are done in order to have cleaner, lower-carbon fuels for electricity, all forms of energy is going to be one of the world's highest challenges, and I know India is working directly on that itself. It's an important country within the world's mix in terms of both greenhouse gas emissions and in terms of adaptation,” Malpass said.
According to the Johns Hopkins University data, there are 131,666,045 COVID-19 cases worldwide with 2,858,491 deaths.