Nod for emergency use of Covishield expected in a few days: Serum Institute

Serum Institute of India CEO says company has already made 40-50 million doses of the vaccines, and aims to extend it to 300 million doses by July 2021

So far 4.5 crore people have been inoculated since the drive was kicked off on January 16 | Representative photo: iStock

Serum Institute of India, which is manufacturing Covishield, the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in India, on Monday said it expects the Centre to approve the shot for emergency use in a few days, Reuters reported.

Company CEO Adar Poonawalla said the SII has already made 40-50 million doses of the vaccine, 50 per cent of which will be used in the country.

“We have 40-50 million doses of Covishield stockpiled. Once we get regulatory approvals in a few days, it’ll be down to the government to decide how much they can take and how fast,” he said.

“We’ll give 50 per cent of our vaccines to the country. Majority of the first 50 million doses will go to India. For exporting to other countries, we’ll need WHO approvals and licenses. So India will receive it first,” he added.

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Poonawalla said SII will produce 300 million doses of Covishield by July 2021.

Report say the Oxford-AstraZeneca may be approved for emergency use by next week. SII had last week submitted additional data sought by the regulatory body for the approval process.

Two other vaccines by Bharat Biotech and Pfizer are pending for approval with the drug regulator.

Poonawala had earlier said that if approvals from the regulatory bodies in India and UK come in time, the vaccine can be expected to be available in India by January 2021.