The world’s largest vaccine maker Serum Institute of India called on countries awaiting supply of Covid-19 vaccine to be “patients“, having been ordered to give priority to”huge needs” from India.
“Dear countries and governments, while waiting for the supply of #COVISHIELD, I humbly ask you to be patient“, Adar Poonawalla, head of Serum Institute of India (STI) tweeted on Sunday.
“@SerumInstIndia was urged to prioritize the huge needs of India and thus strike a balance with the needs of the rest of the world. We are doing our best“, he clarified.
Adar Poonawalla did not say where the order to prioritize India came from, or whether the instructions were new.
India’s target of vaccinating 300 million people by July has fallen far behind with just over 11 million doses administered so far.
However, the lack of vaccine candidates in India appears to be more of the problem than that of vaccine supply.
STI produces hundreds of millions of doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine at its large site in Pune, western India. Many countries, especially the poorest, depend heavily on Indian business for access to vaccines. Millions of doses have already been shipped overseas.
In addition, Serum Institute plans to deliver 200 million doses as part of Covax, a collaborative initiative for poor countries led by the World Health Organization (WHO).
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