India’s Serum Institute To Push Vaccines To Rural Areas With Industry Body

The Serum Institute of India (SII) has entered into a partnership with an industry body to expand the reach of the Covid-19 vaccines, which it makes with a license from AstraZeneca, to the rural areas of India, the largest vaccine maker of the world said on Friday. There was “plenty of supply” of the AstraZeneca with it, the company added.

More than 31.5 million coronavirus infections and about 423,217 deaths from the pandemic have been reported by India which is the second highest number in the world after those in the United States.  

Even though the Indian government claims that more than 452 million vaccine doses have been administered in the country, the rate of vaccination against Covid-19 has been slow which is crucial because about two third of India’s 1.3 billion people reside in the rural areas. The rate of vaccination in these areas has been much slower than in the urban areas.

The largest vaccine maker of the world will be partnering in this association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the Indian industry body that has set up vaccination camps in smaller towns and rural areas of the country.

“While SII has manufactured the vaccine at scale within a short period of time, it is essential that all stakeholders work together towards carrying out the inoculations,” SII’s CEO Adar Poonawalla said about its version of the AstraZeneca drug known as Covishield.

All exports of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine manufactured by SII were stopped by the company in April as domestic demand for the vaccines rose sharply. The company has said that it would be able to start exporting of the vaccine only towards the end of the current year.

Its monthly Covishield production is expected to nearly double to 120 million doses from April levels.

“India’s post-pandemic growth critically rests on how soon the eligible population is vaccinated and economic activities can return to normal,” said CII President T.V. Narendran

(Adapted from BusinessLine.com)

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