'First six months of 2021 will see a Covid vaccine shortage globally. Nobody can help that': Serum CEO2 min read . Updated: 28 Dec 2020, 06:40 PM IST
- '...But we will see easing off by August-September 2021 as other vaccine manufactures will also be able to supply,' Adar Poonawalla added
- He also said that he is expecting India nod for Oxford Covid-19 vaccine emergency use in next few days
Serum Institute of India's CEO Adar Poonawalla on Monday said his company, which is manufacturing the Oxford-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine –Covishied– in the country, will probably give the majority of the 50 million doses to India first.
"India has such a large population that we will probably end up giving the majority of those 50 million doses to India first," Poonawalla said.
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The Pune-based vaccine manufacturer's CEO also told the reporters that India is a part of 'COVAX' and hence, the company will keep giving 50% of everything we make to India and to COVAX at the same time."
The company has already made 40 million to 50 million doses of the vaccine and will be able to ramp up capacity to around 100 million a month by March when a new facility comes online, Poonawalla said.
"We have 40-50 million doses of Covishield stockpiled. Once we get regulatory approvals in a few days, it'll be down to the government to decide how much they can take and how fast," Poonawalla said.
"All data on Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID19 vaccine submitted in India and UK. The re are no concerns, regulators are closely reviewing documents and data," informed Serum CEO
Talking about the Covid vaccination drive which has kickstarted in many countries across the world including the UK, US and European nations, Poonawalla said that the first six months of 2021 will see a shortage globally and "nobody can help that."
"But we will see easing off by August-September 2021 as other vaccine manufactures will also be able to supply," he added.
India wants to deliver 600 million coronavirus shots in the next six to eight months starting in January. The country's drug regulator is also considering similar approvals for the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and another developed by India's Bharat Biotech.
Moreover, Poonawalla also said, "You will be hearing some good news from the UK very soon," Serum's Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla told reporters, adding that approval from the Indian regulator would likely follow shortly.
"By January, we should have the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine licensed."
He also said that Serum will be producing around 300 million doses by July 2021.
Currently, three COVID-19 vaccines candidates of Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute of India and Pfizer are under active consideration of India's drug regulator and there is hope that early licensure is possible for all or any of them, according to the Union health ministry.
Meanwhile, a two-day dry run to check the preparedness of health authorities for a future nationwide COVID-19 vaccination programme began on Monday in four states.
The exercise will include necessary data entry in Co-WIN, an online platform for monitoring of vaccine delivery, testing receipt and allocation, deployment of team members, mock drill of session sites with test beneficiaries, a well as reporting and evening meeting, the Union Health Ministry said on Friday.
It will also include testing of cold storage and transportation arrangements for COVID-19 vaccine, management of crowd at session sites with proper physical distancing, the ministry said.
India has the second-highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world after the United States, and it has recorded 147,901 deaths so far.
On Monday, the Union health ministry reported a daily increase of a little over 20,000 infections, taking the country's total so far to 10.2 million cases.
With agency inputs