Serum Institute of India (SII) chief Adar Poonawalla said on Tuesday his company “never exported vaccines to the detriment of the Indian people.”
“We would like to reiterate that we have never exported vaccines to the detriment of the Indian people and remain committed to doing everything possible to support the vaccination campaign in the country,” SII said in a statement.
SII said that in January 2021, the company had a large stockpile of vaccine doses. The company also said the country’s vaccination campaign against Covid-19 could not be completed in two or three months given the huge population.
The Covid-19 vaccination campaign had started successfully and the number of recorded daily cases was at its lowest. At this point, most people, including health experts, believed India was turning the tide of the pandemic.
“Our government has extended its support as much as possible during this period,” he said.
Poonawalla on the export of the Covid vaccine
Poonawalla said his company will continue to ramp up production of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine and start exporting to other countries by the end of the year.
“We must also understand that this pandemic is not limited by geographic or political borders,” said the SII statement.
SII, the world’s largest vaccine maker that makes Covishield, responded by saying it hopes to restart deliveries to COVAX and other countries by the end of this year.
SII said it delivered more than 200 million doses, even though they received EUA two months later from US drug companies.
“If we look at the total doses produced and delivered, we rank in the top three in the world,” the company added.
Battling the world’s biggest leap in coronavirus infections, India halted vaccine exports a month ago after donating or selling more than 66 million doses. The move has left countries like Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and many African countries scrambling to find other supplies.
The World Health Organization, which co-leads COVAX, on Monday called on vaccine makers outside India to provide supplies to the program given the South Asian country’s shortfall.
Read Serum’s full statement here:
The Covid 19 crisis has been difficult for people around the world, including India. In the last few days. there has been intense discussion about the decision of our government and Indian vaccine manufacturers, including SII, to export vaccines.
It is important that before drawing any conclusions, we examine a few important aspects of the events that occurred –
- First, in 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 its lowest level. At this point, most people, including health experts, believed India was turning the tide of the pandemic.
- Around the same time, many other countries around the world were facing an acute crisis and were in desperate need of help. Our government has provided support to the extent possible during this time. It is this spirit that initially led to the inter-country society when the virus first emerged in early 2020. The inter-country society also forms the basis of our access to technology and aid to people. health care. Today, it is this reciprocity, where India has helped other countries with HCQ supply and vaccine exports, which in turn has led to support from other countries.
- We also need to understand that this pandemic is not limited by geographic or political boundaries. We will not be safe until everyone is able to defeat this virus on a global scale. In addition, as part of our global alliances, we also had commitments to COVAX, so that they could distribute vaccines around the world to end the pandemic.
- Another important factor that people tend not to realize is that we are among the two most populous countries in the world, a vaccination campaign for such a large population cannot be completed in 2-3 months, because many factors and challenges are involved. That said, it would take 2-3 years for the entire world population to be fully immunized.
- SII delivered more than 200 minutes of doses, even though we received EUA two months later from American pharmaceutical 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 shipping to COVAX and other countries by the end of this year.
- We would like to reiterate that we have never exported vaccines to the detriment of the Indian people and remain committed to doing everything possible to support the vaccination campaign in the country.
- We have worked tirelessly with the government to do our best for humanity and will continue in the same spirit. Now is the time for all of us to unite and work together to defeat the pandemic.
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