The World Health Organisation is in talks with India about joining the "COVAX" global vaccine allocation plan, a senior WHO adviser said on Monday. "India is certainly eligible, like all countries in the world, to be part of the COVAX facility and discussions are ongoing in that regard," Bruce Aylward told a briefing in Geneva, news agency Reuters reported.
"We would welcome Indian participation... India has extensive experience (with vaccines)," Mr Aylward said.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the GAVI vaccine alliance are leading the COVAX facility, aimed at helping buy and distribute vaccination shots against the novel coronavirus fairly around the world.
But some countries that have secured their own supplies through bilateral deals, including the US, have said they will not join COVAX.
GAVI on its website says its impact draws on the strengths of its core partners, WHO, UNICEF, World Bank, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and plays a critical role in strengthening primary healthcare.
"With COVID-19 now reported in almost all GAVI-eligible countries, the Vaccine Alliance is providing immediate funding to health systems, enabling countries to protect health care workers, perform vital surveillance and training, and purchase diagnostic tests," the group said.
Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan last month said India's first vaccine against the coronavirus could be available by end of this year. "One of our COVID-19 vaccine candidates is in the third phase of the clinical trial. We are very confident that a vaccine will be developed by end of this year," Dr Harsh Vardhan had said.
India has surpassed Brazil to become the second worst-hit by the coronavirus pandemic with a record daily spike of 90,802 cases, taking the country's tally past 42 lakh, Health Ministry data showed this morning.
This is the second consecutive day that the country registered over 90,000 new infections in 24 hours.
With inputs from Reuters