US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer told the Indian government on Wednesday that their Covid-19 vaccine can be administered to everyone aged 12 and above, and can also be stored at 2-8 degree temperature for a month, sources told news agency ANI.
The Pfizer vaccine which was created in collaboration with German biotechnology firm BioNTech is the only vaccine currently being administered to children in some countries. US health regulator rolled out the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children between the ages of 12-15 on May 14, Canada had approved their shot for children on 5 May. The European Medicines Agency is also evaluating its use in children.
The initial advisory had suggested that Pfizer vaccines should be stored at a temperature of minus 70 degree celsius, which was considered to be almost impossible for tropical countries with underfunded cold storage infrastructure, but the company has since revised the advisory and the vaccines can now be stored at minus 25 degrees and even at 2-8 degrees for a month.
PTI had reported on 26 May that Pfizer is willing to export five crore vaccine doses over the course of four months, starting with one crore vaccine doses in July, one in August, two crore in September and finally another one crore in October. However, the manufacturer has agreed to hold talks with the Government of India and accept payments directly from them. Earlier, both Pfizer and Moderna had refused to sell vaccines directly to states.
Pfizer also took up discussions on indemnity and liability protection against any claims that might arise from the use of their vaccine. Sources told ANI that the pharma giant asked for relaxation in some clauses before it supplies vaccines to India. Pfizer seeks indemnity and liability protections in all of their agreements consistent with applicable local laws and has one with 116 countries in the world. Indemnification clauses are often included in contracts with governments for the supply of necessary vaccines during any public health emergency.