H1N1 vaccine ready, but is India napping?
A worker holds a package of H1N1 flu vaccine from the assembly line at a military pharmaceutical plant in Burgos, northern Spain.
While the first batch of swine flu vaccine goes to Britain and countries such as the US have already booked to receive it, India has not taken any action to even place an order.
Despite the swine flu toll reaching 90, Indian health authorities have failed to move fast enough although it may not have its indigenous vaccine ready before May 2010.
While huge quantities - 195 million and 90 million doses respectively are going to the US and UK - India is still miles from getting vaccines because the government has not entered into any pre-booking contracts with Novartis, GlaxoSmithKline or any other domestic manufacturers, the Times of India reported on Friday.
The first batch of H1N1 vaccine rolled out from Baxter Inc labs on Friday for Britain.
China has 20-odd companies racing to make the vaccine, with Sinovac Biotech perhaps being the first company worldwide to complete clinical trials for swine flu vaccine.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said recently that countries in the northern hemisphere had ordered more than a billion doses, sparking warnings of shortages.
Developing a vaccine is the only way to protect people from the disease, which may become severe with the onset of winter and the dire possibility of the H1N1 virus mutating.