The Serum Institute of India (STI), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, has asked countries awaiting vaccines against covid-19 to be “patient” after being ordered to prioritize “the enormous needs” of India.
The STI “was guided to prioritize the enormous needs of India and together with that balance to the needs of the rest of the world,” wrote the head of the Indian vaccine manufacturer, Adar Poonawalla, on Sunday, on the social network Twitter. The official did not clarify where the order came from or whether these instructions are new.
Responsible for producing 60% of the world’s vaccines before the pandemic, STI is producing hundreds of millions of doses of the Anglo-Swedish vaccine AstraZeneca, known locally as Covishield, at its facilities in Pune, western India, and has already sent millions abroad, including Brazil.
The Indian manufacturer, which has received orders from several countries, including Canada, also plans to supply 200 million doses under the Covax platform, an initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) to guarantee access to vaccines in the poorest countries.
It is recalled that India started a gigantic vaccination campaign on January 16, having so far vaccinated around 11 million people, according to the Indian Ministry of Health.
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