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Pfizer CEO discussing expedited vaccine approval with India

Pfizer CEO discussing expedited vaccine approval with India
© Greg Nash

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a LinkedIn post Monday that his company would be donating $70 million worth of medicines to India and was also discussing fast-tracking its vaccine approval in the country as it battles a massive wave of new coronavirus cases.

Bourla wrote that Pfizer would be donating steroids, anticoagulants and antibiotics to ensure "every COVID-19 patient in every public hospital across the country can have access to Pfizer medicines they need free of charge."

"Pfizer is aware that access to vaccines is critical to ending this pandemic. Unfortunately, our vaccine is not registered in India although our application was submitted months ago," Bourla said. "We are currently discussing with the Indian government an expedited approval pathway to make our Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine available for use in the country."

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"As we work to meet the public health needs and to be a partner with the Government of India to establish a path forward for our vaccine, please know you and your loved ones are foremost in our thoughts and prayers," Bourla added.

India has so far approved four COVID-19 vaccines for use: Covaxin, Sputnik V, AstraZeneca and Covishield. Covaxin and Covishield were both created in India.

According to to the World Health Organization, India has confirmed around 20 million coronavirus cases and more than 200,000 deaths. More than 147 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country, which has a population of more than 1.3 billion.

Multiple countries including the United Kingdom, United States and Australia have blocked most if not all travel from India due to the worsening infection rates in the country. Both the U.K. and the U.S. have sent badly needed medical supplies such as ventilators and oxygen to India.