NEW DELHI: In what is expected to further ease the supply of raw materials to vaccine manufacturers in India, the United States has decided to lift the Defense Production Act (DPA) ratings on three COVID vaccines - AstraZeneca, Novavax and Sanofi.
AstraZeneca and Novavax are being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII). "While the manufacturers will continue to make these three vaccines, this action will allow US-based companies that supply these vaccine manufacturers to make their own decisions on which orders to fulfill first," White House COVID-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients said. All three vaccines are yet to be approved for use in the US.
The DPA gives the US president powers to allocate materials, services, and facilities and award contracts that are prioritised over others to promote national defence. Former President Donald Trump had invoked the Act last February saying it will be used to protect America from coronavirus. The law prevents companies from exporting certain goods to keep them within the US.
By invoking the DPA, export of raw materials for vaccine manufacture was curtailed or banned from the US. Of the 350-odd ingredients used for vaccine manufacturing, the US is the source for around 70 per cent of them. The issue of the DPA bar was first flagged by SII’s Adar Poonawalla, which created an uproar, forcing the Biden administration to partially lift it.