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Home / News / India /  It will take 2-3 yrs for world to get fully vaccinated against Covid: Serum CEO

Serum Institute of India on Tuesday said that owing to India's large population, the Covid-19 vaccination drive cannot be completed within 2-3 months, as several factors and challenges are involved. In fact, it will take at least two to three years for the entire population of the world to get vaccinated against Covid-19, the company said in a statement.

"...We are amongst the two most populous countries in the world, a vaccination drive for such a large population cannot be completed within 2-3 months, as there are several factors and challenges involved. That said it would take 2-3 years for the entire world population to get fully vaccinated," said Serum chief Adar Poonawalla.

Pune-based Serum is one of the world's largest vaccine manufacturing companies. It also said that it would continue to scale up its production of its locally produced AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine candidate "Covishield" and start exporting to other countries by the end of the year.

However, it added, "We would like to reiterate that we have never exported vaccines at the cost of the people of India and remain committed to do everything we can in the support of the vaccination drive in the country."

Read Serum's full statement here:

The Covid 19 crisis has been difficult on people across the globe, including India. In the past few days. there has been intense discussion on the decision of our Government and Indian vaccine manufacturers Including Sil to export vaccines.

It is important that before we make conclusions, we consider a few important aspects of the events that have transpired -

Firstly, in January 2021 we had a large stockpile of vaccine doses. Our vaccination drive had started successfully and the number of daily cases being recorded were at an all-time low. At that stage, most people including health experts believed that India was fuming the tide on the pandemic.

Around the same time, many other countries in the world were facing an acute crisis and were in desperate need of help. Our Government extended support wherever possible during this period. It is this spirit that had initially led to corporation between countries when the virus first emerged in the beginning of 2020. The corporation between countries also forms the basis for us getting access to technology and aid for healthcare. Today, it is this reciprocity, where India has helped other countries with the supply of HCO and vaccine exports, that has in tum led to support from other countries.

We must also understand that this pandemic is not limited by geographic or political boundaries. We will not be safe till everyone one globally is able to defeat this virus at a global scale. Further. as part of our global alliances, we also had commitments to COVAX, so that they could distribute the vaccines globally to end the pandemic.

Another important factor that people do not tend to realise is that we are amongst the two most populous countries in the world, a vaccination drive for such a large population cannot be completed within 2-3 months, as there are several factors and challenges involved. That said it would take 2-3 years for the entire world population to get fully vaccinated.

511 has delivered more than 200mn doses, even though we received EUA two months after the US pharma companies. If we look at total doses produced and delivered, we rank amongst the top three in the world. We continue to scale up manufacturing and prioritise India. We also hope to start delivering to COVAX and other countries by end of this year.

We would like to reiterate that we have never exported vaccines at the cost of the people in India and remain committed to do everything we can in the support of the vaccination drive in the country.

We have been working with the government tirelessly to do our best for humanity and will continue in the same spirit. This is the time for all of us to unite and work together to defeat the pandemic.

Meanwhile, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that once the devastating COVID-19 outbreak in India recedes, the Serum Institute of India will need to “get back on track and catch up" on its delivery commitments to COVAX, the global initiative to supply coronavirus vaccines to nations around the world.

During a daily virtual press briefing on Monday, the World Health Organisation Director-General said that the surge in COVID-19 cases around the world has compromised the global vaccine supply and there is already a shortfall of 190 million doses to COVAX by the end of June.

COVAX, “the global COVID vaccine equity scheme", has so far delivered 65 million doses to 124 countries and economies but it is dependent on countries and manufacturers honouring their commitments.

“Once the devastating outbreak in India recedes, we also need the Serum Institute of India to get back on track and catch up on its delivery commitments to COVAX," Ghebreyesus said.

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