India Covid-19 vaccination row, director Serum Institute weighs in

India is likely to take at least three to four months to complete the Covid-19 vaccination efforts for frontline workers and people over 60 or with underlying health conditions, the executive director of Serum Institute of India said on Thursday.

In January, the South Asian country launched the world’s largest vaccination campaign for some 300 million people out of its massive 1.3 billion population. As of Wednesday night, more than 36 million people have been vaccinated according to data from the Indian Ministry of Health.

“The number of doses needed in India is huge,” Suresh Jadhav told OilGasJobz’s “Capital Connection.” The vaccination program is a huge task that is impossible to complete in a short time.

“At a rate of about 50 (million) to 60 million doses per month, this program will continue and they will cover this population of 300 million over another three to four months,” he said.

Jadhav joins Asian Development Bank this week Southeast Asia Development Symposium 2021.

The Pune, India-based Serum Institute has played a key role in Covid vaccination efforts, both in India and worldwide. It is the largest volume vaccine manufacturer in the world and produces the Covid-19 vaccine developed by the British-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, known locally as Covishield.

It has provided millions of doses to the Indian government as well as to Covax, a global vaccination initiative led by the World Health Organization, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. Covax’s goal is to ensure equitable distribution of shots in less affluent countries.

An exterior view of Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd. making Covid-19 vaccine at Hadapsar, on 23 November 2020 in Pune, India.

Pratham Gokhale | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

In response to the growing demand for its Covid vaccine, Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute, last month called on foreign governments to be patient and said, without further explanation, the company was told to first address the domestic demand. to comply.

Jadhav explained that Serum Institute is capable of fulfilling current orders placed by the Indian government and said he has already supplied approximately 59 million doses to Covax. He added that Serum Institute plans to expand its capacity by the end of April or early May, when it aims to increase production by another 40 to 50 million doses.

Currently, Serum Institute can reportedly deliver more than 70 million doses a month.

Last week, the United States, Japan and Australia promises to help Indian companies expand their production capacity for Covid vaccines and give more doses to the global supply pool.

India also uses a locally developed Bharat Biotech vaccine created in collaboration with the state-run Indian Medical Research Council.

Elucidation: This article has been updated to reflect that Covax is co-led by the World Health Organization as well as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

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