Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla on Tuesday said that his firm never exported Covishield doses at the cost of people in India.
“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, “ he said in a statement.
Important Information pic.twitter.com/M1R1P6rqUp— SerumInstituteIndia (@SerumInstIndia) May 18, 2021
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Giving the background on the decision to export vaccines, Poonawalla said, "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." Around the same time, many other countries in the world were facing an acute crisis and were in desperate need of help. The Indian government extended support wherever possible during this period, he added.
"Today, it is this reciprocity, where India has helped other countries with the supply of HCQ and vaccine exports, that has, in turn, led to support from other countries," the statement said.
Poonawalla added that SII has delivered more than 200 million doses, even though the firm received EUA (emergency use authorisation) two months after the US pharma companies.
"Serum continues to scale up manufacturing and prioritise India. It also hopes to start delivering to COVAX and other countries by end of this year," the statement said.
He said that India's vaccination drive cannot be completed within 2-3 months given the huge population.
"Another important factor that people do not tend to realise is that India is among the two most populous countries in the world, and a vaccination drive for such a large population cannot be completed within 2-3 months, as there are several factors and challenges involved," the statement said.
(Edited by : Aditi Gautam)
First Published: IST