The Serum Institute of India (SII) would continue to scale up its production of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine and start exporting to other countries by the end of the year, its chief Adar Poonawalla said on Tuesday.

The SII, the world’s biggest vaccine maker that manufactures Covishield, responded by saying that it hoped to restart deliveries to COVAX and other countries by the end of this year.

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

Read Serum’s full statement here:

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 Sil to export vaccines.

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 were at an all-time low. At that stage, most people including health experts believed that India was fuming 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. Our Government extended support wherever possible during this period. It is this spirit that had initially led to corporation between countries when the virus first emerged in the beginning of 2020. The corporation 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 HCO and vaccine exports, that has in tum led to support from other countries.

We must also understand that this pandemic is not limited by geographic or political boundaries. We will not be safe till everyone one 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.

Mother important factor that people do not tend to realise is that we are amongst the two most populous countries in the world, a vaccination drive for such a large population cannot be completed within 2-3 months, as there are several factors and challenges involved. That said it would take 2-3 years for the entire world population to get fully vaccinated.

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