Indian biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals firm Serum Institute of India (SII) has prompted the central government to fast-track Covishield passage. The firm, citing the same, has reasoned the continuous increase in the stock of Covishield while clarifying the adversities that they were facing production/cold chain space/human resource planning.
It is pertinent to note here that in addition to Covishield, the Pune-based firm also manufactures and supplies various life-saving vaccines to EPI, UNICEF and different countries.
While urging the government to fast-track the Covishield movement, Serum Institute of India (SII) has cited the difficulties being faced in production and cold chain space planning for other vaccines because of the increasing stock of its COVID-19 jab. Prakash Kumar Singh, Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs at SII had also communicated to the Union Health Ministry and added that SII had manufactured stock of 24,89,15,000 Covishield doses and the numbers were increasing every day.
He added, "In view of these facts, genuine difficulties and as this matter is directly concerned with the availability of various other life-saving vaccines in our country and the world at large, we request for your kind intervention for fast-track movement of our Covishield vaccine domestically and globally."
The Centre has allowed SII to export 50 Lakh doses of Covishied under the UN-backed COVAX global vaccine sharing programme to Nepal, Tajikistan and Mozambique. SII will also export Covishield to Bangladesh under COVAX, an official source said.
The Serum Institute will commence its Covid vaccine export under the COVAX programme from November 23 and Nepal will receive the first lot of Covishiled on November 24. The government had in October permitted SII to export 10 lakh Covishield doses each to Nepal, Myanmar and Bangladesh under the 'Vaccine Maitri' programme.
Vaccine Maitri is an initiative undertaken by the Indian government to provide COVID-19 vaccines to countries around the world. The government started providing vaccines from January. In late March, the Government of India temporarily froze exports of the Covishield, citing India's own COVID crisis and the domestic need for the vaccine.
Union Health Minister of India Mansukh Mandaviya had announced in September that India would resume the export of vaccines to the rest of the world from October.