Vaccine maker Serum Institute of India has clarified that it does not export its Covid-19 vaccines despite the country’s needs.
“We would like to reiterate that we have never exported vaccines to the detriment of the Indian population,” Serum Managing Director Adar Poonawalla said in a statement. His clarification comes even as the Center and the company have drawn criticism from various quarters over why the vaccines were exported, even as projections showed India would run out of supplies to vaccinate even the initial batch of people. priority to shoot.
The serum makes the AstraZeneca-OxfordUniversity vaccine for India and other low- and middle-income countries, and is one of two vaccines initially approved for deployment. And, according to the Department of External Affairs, about 66 million vaccines from these two companies had been exported.
Describing the background to the exports, he said: “As of January 2021, we had a large stock of vaccine doses. Our vaccination campaign had started successfully and the number of recorded daily cases was at an all time high. At this point, most people, including health experts, believed India was turning the tide of the pandemic. ”
Around the same time, other countries were facing an acute crisis and needed help, he said, noting that the government was stepping in to “extend its support” to these countries.
“Cooperation between countries is also the basis of our access to technology and healthcare support. Today, it is this reciprocity, where India has helped other countries with the supply of HCQ (hydroxychloroquine) and vaccine exports, which in turn has led to the support of other countries. “In addition, as part of our global alliances, we also had commitments to Covax, so that they can distribute vaccines around the world to end the pandemic,” he added.
In fact, on Monday, the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, reminded Serum of his commitment. “Once the devastating epidemic in India recedes, we also need the Serum Institute of India to get back on track and catch up on its delivery commitments to Covax,” he said.
The serum delivered more than 200 million doses, Poonawalla said, even though they received emergency clearance two months after U.S. drug companies.
“If we look at the total doses produced and delivered, we rank in the top three in the world. We continue to step up manufacturing and prioritize India. We also hope to start delivering to Covax and other countries by the end of this year, ”he added.
The company plans to produce around 100 million doses by June / July.