COVID-19 Vaccines Only For India Now: Serum Institute CEO

Pune: India will not allow the Oxford University-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine’s export for several months, according to Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla. SII has been contracted to manufacture 1 billion doses of the vaccine for the developing countries.

The bar on exports, however, implies that poorer nations may have to wait for a few months before getting their first shots.

The Indian regulator granted the approval for the Oxford University-AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday, but on the condition that the Serum Institute doesn’t export the shots. This has been done to ensure that vulnerable Indians are protected, company CEO Adar Poonawalla said in an interview with news agency The Associated Press.

Poonawalla also said the company also has been barred from selling the vaccine on the private market to prevent hoarding. “We can only give (the vaccines) to the government of India at the moment,” Poonawalla said.

The CEO said SII was contemplating giving 200 million to 300 million doses of the vaccine to COVAX by December 2021. However, he acknowledged that the company would have to balance the distribution of vaccines between India and COVAX.

“We can’t vaccinate everybody right now. We can prioritize,” he was quoted.

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