COVID-19 vaccine exports may resume by year-end: Adar Poonawalla

#Adar Poonawalla, #coronavirus, #India, in one or two months, United States has asked India, pledged to provide 550 million doses

India had temporarily halted export of vaccines during the fierce second wave of COVID-19 in India. Before that, India had exported doses to several countries.

Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla said India may resume export of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of the year.

Poonawalla told Mint he expects export restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines to be lifted in one or two months. He also said that SII, which is manufacturing Covishield (the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine), is “significantly” ramping up its capacities.

“The export restrictions were there temporarily to take care of our nation. In the next month or two, we expect it will ease. Because if you look at how many vaccines we have delivered and others in India have delivered, we are coming close to a point where there is more than enough vaccine stock, especially with us scaling up even further for this year,” Poonawalla told the publication.

Also read: India completes over 2 crore COVID-19 vaccinations on PM Modi’s birthday

“So, in the next two months, we do expect slow easement of exports. But you have to also check with the government; ultimately it is their decision, and we will go by what they see as appropriate,” he added.

India is nearing a level where there is sufficient stock to sustain the vaccination drive, according to Poonawalla.

The country temporarily halted export of vaccines during the fierce second wave of COVID-19 in India. Before that, India had exported doses to several countries.

Manufacturing and supply of doses has ramped up since then. India has administered a total of more than 77 crore (770 million) doses, according to the health ministry’s update on September 17.

American news website Axios recently reported that the United States has asked India to resume vaccine exports.

In 2020, SII pledged to provide 550 million doses of Covishield to COVAX, a global initiative to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccine doses to people in low- and middle-income countries.

Also Read: In Depth | COVID-19 vaccination in America: How the US lost its lead, vaccine hesitancy and the path ahead

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