InvestorQ : Why did the government reject the Pfizer vaccine for COVID inoculation in India?
diksha shah made post

Why did the government reject the Pfizer vaccine for COVID inoculation in India?

sara Kunju answered.
1 year ago

It is not the government that takes these decisions but the “Specially constituted Expert Committee or the SEC” that is the final authority on whether or not to accept a vaccine candidate. The Expert group rejected the Pfizer Vaccine for emergency use approval in India essentially because it did not meet the basic conditions.

The SEC has already set a basic requirement that any vaccine candidate must provide proof of having conducted adequate tests on a sample of Indian users. That is something that Pfizer had not conducted and hence did not have the requisite basic data to present before the SEC. Pfizer agreed to conduct necessary tests and subsequently reapply for approval.

However, there are two additional constraints to the Pfizer vaccine in India, which could also have played a big role in the decision. Firstly, the Indian government is not confident of Pfizer being able to supply to India in bulk. Pfizer does not have a dedicated Indian manufacturer. Also, it is overloaded with vaccine orders from the US and Europe.

The second point is that the Pfizer vaccine needs refrigeration at temperatures of -70 degrees Celsius. This kind of low temperature is normally not available commercially in India. That could post a logistical problem. In contrast, candidates like AstraZeneca, Covaxin from Bharat Biotech and Sputnik only require storage at -10 degrees which is more practical.