Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII), which has manufactured Covisheild vaccine in partnership with AstraZeneca-Oxford, asked nations waiting for the vaccine to “be patient”on Sunday (February 21).
“Dear countries & governments, as you await #COVISHIELD supplies, I humbly request you to please be patient, @SerumInstIndia 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 (sic),” Poonawalla tweeted.
Covishield was cleared by drug regulator DCGI in January for emergency use authorisation. The other vaccine cleared is Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin.
Poonawalla had earlier said India will get priority even as SII supplies “will be going out in the next two-three weeks to 30 countries”.
India has been exporting coronavirus vaccines. “Our country has been able to help others at the time of this crisis because we are a self-reliant nation,” the Prime Minister had said during his radio address Mann ki Baat in January.
India’s vaccination drive began on January 16 with first priority being given to healthcare and frontline workers.
There has been a surge in coronavirus infections over the past few days, however, in five states, Kerala, Maharashtra, Punjab, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.