Covishield supply: SII asks foreign countries to be patient

Serum Institute of India CEO says company has been directed to prioritise Indian needs

Serum Institute of India (SII) chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla on Sunday urged governments of other countries to be patient with regards to supplies of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covishield vaccine as the vaccine maker had been urged to prioritise Indian requirements first.

Mr. Poonawalla further said that the SII was doing its utmost to “balance the needs of the rest of the world” with the massive demand from the country.

“Dear countries & governments, as you await COVISHIELD supplies, I humbly request you to please be patient, [Serum Institute of India] has been directed to prioritise the huge needs of India and along with that balance the needs of the rest of the world. We are trying our best,” tweeted the SII CEO.

Thus far, the SII has supplied vaccines to a number of foreign nations, including Brazil, Mexico and Canada, while spearheading India’s anti-COVID-19 vaccination drive, which also includes Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.

Following Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s call to Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding Canada’s requirements for COVID-19 vaccines from India, Mr. Modi had assured Mr. Trudeau that Canada would be supplied with doses at the earliest and that India would do its best to help Canada’s vaccination efforts.

On February 15, Mr. Poonawalla had tweeted on the issue as well, saying: “Dear Hon’ble PM Justin Trudeau, I thank you for your warm words towards India and it’s [its] vaccine industry. As we await regulatory approvals from Canada, I assure you, Serum Institute of India will fly out COVISHIELD to Canada in less than a month; I’m on it!”

Earlier this week, India had also announced a gift of 2 lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccines for UN peacekeepers.

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