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Thursday, Oct 06, 2022

Never exported vaccines at the cost of people, says Serum Institute chief

“We continue to scale up manufacturing and prioritise India. We also hope to start delivering to COVAX and other countries by the end of this year,” he said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

Adar Poonawalla, Adar Poonawalla SII, Adar Poonawalla Serum InstituteSerum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla. (File)

Serum Institute of India chief Adar Poonawalla on Tuesday said the company has never exported vaccines at the cost of the people in the country and remains committed to do everything it can in support of the vaccination drive in India.

“We delivered more than 200 million doses even though the firm received EUA (emergency use authorisation) two months after US pharma companies. If we look at total doses produced and delivered, we rank among the top three in the world,” said Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India.

“We continue to scale up manufacturing and prioritise India. We also hope to start delivering to COVAX and other countries by the end of this year,” he said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

“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 SII, to export vaccines,” said Poonawalla.

“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 was at an all-time low. At that stage, most people, including health experts, believed that India was turning 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,” he said.

“The government extended support wherever possible during this period. It is this spirit that had initially led to cooperation between countries when the virus first emerged in the beginning of 2020. The cooperation 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 HCQ and vaccine exports, that has in turn led to support from other countries,” Poonawalla said in the statement.

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“We will not be safe until everyone globally is able to defeat this virus. Further, as part of our global alliances, we also had commitments to COVAX… Another important factor that people do not tend to realise is that we are among the two most populous countries in the world, a vaccination drive for such a large population cannot be completed within two to three months, as there are several factors and challenges involved.”

First published on: 18-05-2021 at 09:04:59 pm
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