Exports of Covishield allowed to all countries, clarifies Adar Poonawalla

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The Pune-based vaccine maker earlier agreed to supply vaccines to Bangladesh and to Global vaccine alliance Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment.

india Updated: Jan 05, 2021, 14:47 IST

Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Serum Institute of India, on Wednesday tweeted clarifying that SII is allowed to export its vaccines. Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Serum Institute of India, on Wednesday tweeted clarifying that SII is allowed to export its vaccines.(REUTERS)

Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla on Tuesday said exports of its vaccine, Covishield, which became one of the first Covid-19 vaccines in India to get restricted emergency-use approval, are permitted to all countries. Earlier it was reported that Pune’s SII got the approval on the condition that it will not export its shots as of now.

I would like to clarify two matters; as there is confusion in the public domain, exports of vaccines are permitted to all countries and a joint public statement clearing up any recent miscommunication with regards to Bharat Biotech will be made.

— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) January 5, 2021

The Associated Press reported that Poonawalla said his company has been barred from selling vaccines on private market.

Poonawalla also said a joint public statement clearing up “any recent miscommunication with regards to Bharat Biotech will be made”.

Serum Institute of India is world’s largest vaccine maker by the number of doses produced in a year. As it tied up with Astrazeneca and Oxford University to conduct trials in India and to produce the vaccines in India, several south Asian countries have shown interest in Covaxin. In November, an MoU was signed between the Bangladesh health ministry, Serum Institute and Bangladesh’s Beximco Pharmeceuticals according to which SII would provide three crore doses to Bangladesh.

Demand for SII’s vaccine being manufactured in India is not only limited to the neighbouring countries, as the vaccine is likely to be cheaper than its global competitors. Global vaccine alliance Gavi has collaborated with Serum Institute and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to deliver up to an additional 100 million doses of vaccines, once proved effective, to low- and middle-income countries, as part of the Gavi-COVAX Advance Market Commitment.

Hence, the approval of the vaccine for restricted emergency use is good news for the international market as well but reports that India has barred SII to export its vaccines led to confusion.

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