As India battles a daily surge of over 3 lakh Covid-19 cases and deaths amid a shortage of vaccines against the disease, Serum Institute of India (SII) chief Adar Poonawalla has said the country's shortage of vaccine doses will last months.
According to a report in the Financial Times, Adar Poonawalla has said that the Covid-19 vaccine shortage in India will continue through July. Adar Poonawalla also said the production of Covid-19 vaccines is expected to increase in July.
Adar Poonawalla said in July 2021, the production of Covid-19 vaccines will increase from about 60-70 million doses a month to about 100 million.
Adar Poonawalla's statement comes days after India opened vaccinations for all adults from May 1.
Poonawalla said the authorities did not expect to be hit by a second wave of the coronavirus disease in January when Covid-19 cases had started declining. "Everybody really felt that India had started to turn the tide on the pandemic," Adar Poonawalla was quoted as saying.
Poonawalla said had there been orders, his firm would have boosted the production. "There were no orders, we did not think we needed to make more than 1 billion doses a year," Adar Poonawalla said.
The Serum Institute of India (SII) is producing the Covid-19 vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University in the UK.
Meanwhile, the Serum Institute of India is planning to start vaccine production in other countries as it struggles to meet supply commitments.
Poonawalla said last week that the Serum Institute would be able to raise its monthly output to 100 million doses by July, later than a previous timeline of end-May. Several states in India have run out of vaccines against Covid-19.