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India's vaccine shortage will last months: Adar Poonawalla

May 3, 2021
healthcare

Poonawalla told the Financial Times that the government ''took it easy'' in January when numbers of new coronavirus cases had declined

Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive of India’s Serum Institute, the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturer, has warned that vaccine shortage will continue for months.

Poonawalla told the Financial Times (FT) that the country's severe vaccine shortage will continue through July, when production is expected to increase from about 60–70 million doses a month to 100 million.

Poonawalla said that the government “took it easy” in January when numbers of new coronavirus cases had declined. “Everybody really felt that India had started to turn the tide on the pandemic,” he said.

India has only vaccinated 2 percent of its population. Many states have reported acute shortage of vaccines. The country reported a record 400,000 new cases on Sunday and several cities and states, including New Delhi, are under lockdown

In the FT report, Poonawalla said, the Serum Institute had been maligned by politicians and critics over the vaccine shortages.

He said the government was responsible for policy, not the company.

“I’ve been victimised very unfairly and wrongly,” he said, adding that he had not boosted capacity earlier because ““there were no orders; we did not think we needed to make more than 1billion doses a year,” FT reported.

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