The world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, India-based Serum Institute, plans to reduce production of the AstraZeneca jab against COVID-19 by at least half, its chief executive said in a television interview.
Serum Institute head, Adar Poonawalla said the failure of the Indian government to place any new orders was the reason for plans to slash production.
According to Poonawalla, the orders from the UN vaccine initiative were coming in very slowly.
“I am going to be reducing the production by at least 50 per cent to begin with, going forward on a monthly basis, until the orders again pick up in India and the world,” he said..
The company currently makes 250 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine every month.
The shot is sold in India under the name Covishield.
Earlier this year, Serum Institute was chosen to be the main supplier for UN vaccine initiative COVAX, which seeks to improve poorer countries’ access to vaccines amid dramatic inequalities worldwide.
The company initially supplied millions of doses abroad, either supplying countries directly or through the COVAX scheme.
However, when India faced a severe wave of cases of COVID-19 in spring, the government responded by stopping export of the jab but it resumed recently.
Many poorer countries were forced to seek alternative sources of the shot in the interim. (dpa/NAN)