World’s largest vaccine manufacturer requests financial help after India imposes Covid jab export restrictions

The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, has called on the government to provide financial support after Prime Minister Narendra Modi halted Covid-19 vaccine exports amid soaring infections.

The CEO of the Serum Institute issued a plea to the Indian government on Tuesday evening to help alleviate the financial strain the company is facing after Modi’s administration halted Covid vaccine exports last month.

Speaking to India’s NDTV, the head of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, Adar Poonawalla, described production capacity as “very stressed,” as the company has found its budgets strained by the limits on exports to countries that have ordered supplies from its facilities.

This was never budgeted or planned initially because we were supposed to export and get the funding from export countries.

Prime Minister Modi’s government placed a restriction on exports of Covid-19 vaccines in March, as the country requires the doses internally to meet the rising domestic demand amid an increase in coronavirus cases. The move is thought to be temporary and is expected to be removed at the end of April.

Poonawalla called on the prime minister to provide the company with 30 billion rupees ($408 million) in extra funding to allow it to increase its production capacity, giving the manufacturer the ability to help speed up the vaccine rollout in India.

The CEO said the financial support was required because, despite “prioritizing the needs of India at the moment,” the company is “short of being able to supply” every Indian citizen due to the income lost from international orders that can’t be fulfilled.

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The Serum Institute produces the AstraZeneca vaccine, under the local name of Covidshield, creating more than two million doses every day. However, due to the subsidized rate it charges for the vaccine locally, “it is not profitable enough to reinvest substantially in building capacity” if the company has to rely on domestic deals alone.

Brazil, South Africa, and the UK have all placed orders for vaccines manufactured by the Serum Institute, and the World Health Organization has signed a deal for the purchase of 200 million doses, which will be used in the international Covax scheme.

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Source:RT World News

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