The CEO of the world's biggest vaccine maker, the Serum Institute of India (SII), Adar Poonawalla has asked foreign governments that sought to procure the COVID-19 vaccine doses from India to be patient.
Poonawalla tweeted that the SII "has been directed to prioritise the huge needs of India and along with that balance the needs of the rest of the world".
Dear countries & governments, as you await #COVISHIELD supplies, I humbly request you to please be patient, @SerumInstIndia has been directed to prioritise the huge needs of India and along with that balance the needs of the rest of the world. We are trying our best.— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) February 21, 2021
The vaccine, which has been branded Covishield and co-developed by AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, was granted emergency approval in India and is being produced by the Pune-based SII.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau recently called his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and discussed his country's requirements for COVID-19 vaccines. Prime Minister Modi assured Trudeau that India would do its best to support Canada's vaccination efforts, just as it had done for many other countries already.
On 14 February, Poonawalla also took to Twitter to assure the Canadian prime minister that his country's needs would be met as soon as next month:
Dear Hon’ble PM @JustinTrudeau, I thank you for your warm words towards India and it’s vaccine industry. As we await regulatory approvals from Canada, I assure you, @SerumInstIndia will fly out #COVISHIELD to Canada in less than a month; I’m on it!— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) February 15, 2021
Since mid-January, India, which has registered more than 10.9 million cases of coronavirus since the outbreak of the pandemic, has vaccinated around 11 million people.