India will likely to restart Covid-19 vaccine exports via WHO’s Covax programme — the World Health Organisation’s distribution body supplying vaccines to the world’s poorest nations, by early next year.
According to Reuters, Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla said it will produce 220-240 million vaccine doses as the SII, the world’s biggest vaccine maker, has nearly quadrupled its monthly capacity of AstraZeneca shots to as many as 240 million doses. He said it prepared to export large volumes after a build up of stockpiles.
Poonawalla said Serum, thanks to government support, had now managed to boost monthly output, doubling its annual capacity to 2 billion.
Also read: India becomes the second country to reach 1 billion vaccinations, but concerns persist over states not catching up
India this month resumed COVID-19 vaccine exports for the first time since April, sending some 4 million doses to countries. SII’s monthly production was around 65 million doses when the government stopped all exports due to the demand in India.
“India may need booster shots and other things also, so exports in January won’t reach as high as 200 million doses. But certainly, it will be large volumes,” CEO Adar Poonawalla told the global news agency.
He added the company may be able to export up to 30 million doses a month in November and December. SII has revamped its infrastructure to produce the required Covid-19 doses and will also make the single-dose Sputnik Light vaccine.
“The government ïs yet to make a decision on the exports, 20-30 million could happen in November – volumes will be small until December,” Poonawalla said.
Serum Institute of India is contracted to supply vaccine doses to WHO-backed COVAX but has supplied only a few dozen million shots until now. The company has provided nearly 90 per cent of the doses administered in India.
Poonawalla’s comments come as India celebrated the administration of one billion vaccine doses on Thursday. The country has provided about 70 per cent of its adults with one dose and fully vaccinated 30 per cent of its adult population. Business Today