Never exported vaccines at cost of people in India: Serum Institute

SII hopes to start delivering to COVAX and other countries by year-end

Never exported vaccines at cost of people in India: Serum Institute

A medic shows a vial containing doses of Covishield vaccine. PTI file

New Delhi, May 18

Serum Institute of India on Tuesday said it has never exported vaccines at the cost of the people in India and remains committed to support the vaccination drive in the country.

In the past few days, there has been an intense discussion on the decision of the government and Indian vaccine manufacturers, including Serum Institute of India (SII) to export vaccines, the company said in a statement.

Giving the background on the decision to export vaccines, SII said, “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 were at an all-time low.”

Around the same time, many other countries in the world were facing an acute crisis and were in desperate need of help. The Indian government extended support wherever possible during this period, it added.

“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,” SII said.

This pandemic is not limited by geographic or political boundaries. “We will not be safe till everyone globally is able to defeat this virus at a global scale. Further, as part of our global alliances, we also had commitments to COVAX, so that they could distribute the vaccines globally to end the pandemic,” it added.

Another important factor that people do not tend to realise is that India is among the two most populous countries in the world, and a vaccination drive for such a large population cannot be completed within 2-3 months, as there are several factors and challenges involved, SII said.

“SII has delivered more than 200 million doses, even though we received EUA (emergency use authorisation) two months after the US pharma companies,” it added.

Serum continues to scale up manufacturing and prioritise India. It also hopes to start delivering to COVAX and other countries by end of this year, the statement said.

“We would like to reiterate that we have never exported vaccines at the cost of the people in India and remain committed to do everything we can in the support of the vaccination drive in the country,” it said.

SII has been working with the government tirelessly to do its best for humanity and will continue in the same spirit, it added.

“This is the time for all of us to unite and work together to defeat the pandemic,” SII said.

On Sunday, Congress leaders led by Rahul Gandhi had put up a poster critical of the Prime Minister over COVID vaccine export as their Twitter profile picture and dared the government to arrest them. PTI

 

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