India is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer. The Pune-based Serum Institute currently manufactures of 5,000 doses of Covishield per minute.
India has started shipping out millions of doses of Covishield free of cost. On the list are 13 nations — Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Bahrain, Brazil, Mauritius, Morocco, Oman, Seychelles and Sri Lanka.
For now, the government is reluctant to allow the public release of the vaccines.
“Prioritisation is a must in this process and all nations are following it,” explained Dr VK Paul of Niti Aayog. “If you are healthy and below 50 years of age, you please wait and let those citizens who need it more get it… in the spirit of public health response, in the spirit of our societal responsibility,” he added.
Pointing to the country’s priority list, announced way ahead of the vaccine rollout earlier this month, he said, “In the first seven to eight months, we are focused on the 30 crore people, about which we have talked quite often and we know who those people are, who are the needier”.
India is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, ahead of even China. The Pune-based Serum Institute currently manufactures of 5,000 doses of Covishield per minute, which adds up to 50 million doses per month. By the end of March, this figure will go up by 30 per cent — which translates to 65 million doses.
A chunk of this is now being exported to countries like Brazil, Morocco, South Africa and Saudi Arabia commercially. The export is happening to ensure that the precious vaccine, which has a life span of six months, does not expire. The current stock will start expiring from March.