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SII to cut Covishield production by 50 per cent: Adar Poonawalla

The Pune-based firm has 500 million doses of Covishield in stock.

By: Express News Service | Pune |
Updated: December 8, 2021 8:12:52 pm
SII, serum institute, Adar Poonawalla, Covishield, India news, Indian express, Indian express news, current affairsCovishield doses at a Pune Municipal Corporation store, from where it will be distributed to various centres. (Express Photo: Arul Horizon)

With not enough orders for Covishield from the central government, Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla said the company is looking at slashing monthly production of vaccines by at least 50 per cent beginning next week.

In an interview to CNBC-TV18 on Tuesday, Poonawalla said, “The company is in a dilemma as supply is more than demand for Covishield and it has to dial down the production. We will complete our existing orders to the government by next week. The company has written to the government for guidance on volumes needed.”

The Pune-based firm has 500 million doses of Covishield in stock. “Half of that is finished product and half is bulk, which can be filled and finished in a matter of two months and it has a shelf life of nine months. It’s available on priority to the Indian government.”

Poonawalla also said the firm will start export of vaccines if the government doesn’t need the stock. “We have recently explained this to the government and we have been discussing it, so I think we will wait for a few days for them to have their internal discussion and get back to us.”

According to SII officials, the firm is manufacturing nearly 250 million doses a month. The firm has also resumed Covishield exports to the WHO-backed global platform COVAX. Recently, Covishield was exported to Nepal and Tajikistan. African countries relying on COVAX for doses have faced shortage and according to sources, SII is waiting for large orders as per quantity of doses.

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