India set to get first J&J COVID vaccine doses in October, says source

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FILE PHOTO: Vials and medical syringe are seen in front of J&J logo in this illustration

By Neha Arora

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India expects to get its first Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses from next month, filled and finished in India by a partner of the U.S. drugmaker, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Monday.

It could receive as many as 43.5 million doses of the single-shot vaccine in October, said the source - a big step towards helping India meet its target of producing more than 300 million doses https://www.reuters.com/world/india/india-resume-covid-vaccine-exports-next-quarter-2021-09-20 in the month.

India is the world's biggest centre of vaccine manufacturing. Once it has met its own needs, it plans to resume exports, which it stopped in April.

India's drug regulator last month gave emergency authorisation https://www.reuters.com/world/india/india-approves-jj-covid-19-vaccine-emergency-use-2021-08-07 to the J&J vaccine, whether imported or locally filled and finished by J&J's Indian partner, Biological E.

However, the Indian government has not yet signed any supply deal with J&J.

"J&J doses are expected from next month," said the source, who declined to be named as he was not authorised to talk to the media. "Bio E will do the formulation and make 5 ml vials."

India's health ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A J&J India spokesperson said it was "premature for us to speculate on the timing of our vaccine deliveries".

(Additional reporting by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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