Serum Institute of India (SII) has informed the Centre that it will be able to manufacture and supply 9 to 10 crore doses of its anti-coronavirus vaccine, Covishield in June. To meet the surge in demand, the vaccine maker will need to ramp up its production to 90 million doses in June from its current capacity of 65 million per month, a company spokesman told Reuters.
In a recent letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, SII said its employees have been working round the clock in spite of various challenges because of the pandemic. Owing to vaccine shortage, in March, India had put a temporary hold on all major exports of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to meet demand at home as infections rise.
“We are pleased to inform that in the month of June we will be able to manufacture and supply nine to 10 crore doses of our Covishield vaccine to the country as compared to our production capacity of 6.5 crore doses in May,” Prakash Kumar Singh, the Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs at SII, said in the letter.
Mr Singh also thanked Mr Shah for his “valuable guidance and continuous support” at various stages of their endeavour to make India ”aatmanirbhar” (self-sufficient) in COVID-19 vaccines and making it available for the people of the country.
“Serum Institute of India has always been sincerely concerned about the protection of the citizens of our country and world at large from COVID-19. Under the leadership of our CEO, Adar C Poonawalla, our team have been working relentlessly shoulder to shoulder with our government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said in the letter.
“We assure you that with the support of the Government of India and under your kind guidance, we are trying our best by utilizing all of our resources to increase our production capacity of Covishield in the coming month also.”
In early May, SII had communicated to the Centre that production of Covishield would be ramped up to 6.5 crore in June, seven crore in July and 10 crore each in August and September.
India is currently using made-in-India vaccines — Covishield manufactured by SII and Covaxin of Bharat Biotech — in its COVID-19 immunisation programme.