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Business News/ News / India/  Production of Covishield stopped due to low demand for booster doses: Poonawala
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Production of Covishield stopped due to low demand for booster doses: Poonawala

The CEO of Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawala informed that the production of Covishield vaccine is stopped due to low demand for booster doses

The CEO who was speaking on the sidelines of the annual general meeting of the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN) (Reuters)Premium
The CEO who was speaking on the sidelines of the annual general meeting of the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN) (Reuters)

At a time when cases of Covid-19 are rising in India, the CEO of vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India (SII), Adar Poonawala informed that the company has stopped the production of the Covishield vaccine starting December 2021. The CEO who was speaking on the sidelines of the annual general meeting of the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN), said that there is no demand for booster doses as people seem to be fed up with the pandemic.

He also said that around 100 million doses of the Covishield expired due to the lack of demand for the vaccine.

"Since December 2021, we stopped the production (of Covishield). We had a stock of a few hundred million doses at that time and of that, 100 million doses have already expired," said Poonawalla when asked about the update on the Covishield vaccine.

Informing that the SII vaccines are allowed to be mixed, Poonawala said, "Now, Covovax should be allowed in two weeks. So I think they will and should probably have the policy to mix boosters. If WHO allowed it, then maybe the Indian regulator will and should allow it. But again, boosters have no demand at the moment. There is lethargy generally. People are fed up with COVID, vaccines. To be honest, I am also fed up with it. We all are."

The CEO believes that in the future the booster doses of the Covid-19 vaccine will be taken together with precautionary doses of vaccines for other diseases.

"In India, there is no culture of taking flu shots as we see it in the West. We tried when we launched a few vaccines in 2010. During the H1NI pandemic in 2011, no one took it. Flu is not something that sounds scary to people. They just do not want to take it," he said.

The Serum Institute of India (SII) announced its partnership with Oxford University to manufacture the vaccine in April 2020. The vaccine is manufactured in the Pune facility of the company with a master seed from Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

The news came at a time when Covid-19 cases are rising in India, especially of the new sub-variants of the Omicron variant of the virus. The XXB variant of Covid-19, touted the most contagious variant by some experts, have seen a rise in the densely populated areas of Mumbai, Thane and Raigad in Maharashtra.

The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Mansukh Mandaviya met senior health officials of the government on Tuesday and decided to continue masks and Covid-19 appropriate behavior across the country.

 

With inputs from PTI

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Published: 20 Oct 2022, 08:00 PM IST
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