Adar Poonawalla-Covid vaccines lethargy
When people take a few shots every year, they may take anti-coronavirus vaccines and other shots together, Adar Poonawalla said | File Photo

People fed up of Covid, vaccines; no one taking booster shots: Adar Poonawalla

Serum Institute of India (SII) stopped the production of the Covishield vaccine starting December 2021, its chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla said on Thursday. He said that the total stock of around 100 million available doses that time and they got expired by December last year.

Poonawalla made these remarks while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the annual general meeting of Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN).

SII chief said booster vaccines have no demand as there is general lethargy among people and also because they are fed up with the pandemic, PTI news agency reported.

Also read: New COVID variants in India: How dangerous they are and what govt says

Production stopped

“Since December 2021, we stopped the production (of Covishield). We had a stock of a few hundred million doses at that time and of that, 100 million doses have already expired,” said Poonawalla when asked about the update on the Covishield vaccine, the news agency reported.

He said that people are fed up of Covid and vaccines.

“Now, Covovax should be allowed in two weeks. So, I think they will and should probably have the policy to mix boosters. If WHO allowed it, then maybe the Indian regulator will and should allow it. But again, boosters have no demand at the moment. There is lethargy generally. People are fed up of Covid, vaccines. To be honest, I am also fed up with it. We all are,” he said.

Going forward, when people take a few shots every year, they may take anti-coronavirus vaccines and other shots together, Poonawalla said, adding, “It will become that kind of a product,” the news agency reported.

‘No one takes flu shots in India’

“In India, there is no culture of taking flu shots as we see it in the West. We tried when we launched a few vaccines in 2010. During the H1NI pandemic in 2011, no one took it. Flu is not something that sounds scary to people. They just do not want to take it,” he said.

Also read: Trying to launch Omicron-specific vaccine in six months: Adar Poonawalla

Covishield was produced at the SII’s Pune facility with a master seed from Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

The SII had announced its partnership with Oxford University to manufacture the vaccine in April 2020.

(With Agency inputs)

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