COVID-19 vaccine | Never exported vaccines at the cost of the people of India, says Serum Institute's Adar Poonawalla
However, the company hopes to begin deliveries of vaccine to COVAX and other countries by end of 2021.
May 18, 2021 / 07:47 PM IST
Serum Institute India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla (Image: Twitter/@adarpoonawalla)
Serum Institute of India (SII), which manufactures the Oxford-AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine Covishield, has promised to continue to scale up manufacturing and prioritise India even though it hopes to begin deliveries to COVAX and other countries by end of 2021.
A media statement released by Adar Poonawalla’s company on May 18, after the World Health Organization (WHO) reminded it to catch up on its vaccine delivery commitment to COVAX countries, stated: “We (SII) have never exported vaccines at the cost of the people of India and remain committed to doing everything we can in the support of the vaccination drive in the country.”
Commenting on discussions on the decision of the Government of India and vaccine manufacturers to export vaccines, SII reminded Indians that the pandemic is not limited by political or geographical boundaries, so, no one will be safe till the virus has been defeated at a global scale.
The SII further explained that India had exported vaccines when there was a large stockpile in the country. At the time, the number of daily cases being reported was also on the decline and there was a general belief that India was turning the tide on the pandemic. However, such was not the case in several countries that were faced with an acute crisis. They were in desperate need of help, which was provided by the Government of India.
Explaining the current vaccine crisis, Poonawalla said that people tend to forget that India is among the most populated countries in the world, which means, it is impossible to vaccinate the entire population within two or three months.
He added it might even take two to three years for the entire world’s population to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 due to various factors and challenges involved.
Notably, SII has already supplied 200 million doses of Covishield vaccine, even though it received emergency use authorization two months after the US pharma companies. Now, it ranks among the top three vaccine makers in the world.Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here