With vaccine shortage being reported from Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and a few others, Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), has said the production of Covid-19 vaccines in the country has been hit because the United States and European countries have banned export of critical raw material.
In an interview to a TV channel, Poonawalla said SII is struggling due to such an embargo in the US. He said India needs those materials now, not six months or a year later. The SII is not looking to import raw material from China given quality issues and other supply constraints, Poonawalla said.
When asked about SII’s strategy to meet commitments in terms of the supply of Covishield, the University of Oxford’s Covid-19 vaccine, Poonawalla said SII is prioritizing India’s needs. He said if they get critical raw materials by late April onwards, it will impact capacity and would be only able to produce half of what they can.
What is the vaccine shortage mystery?
Even as the Centre continues to claim that there is no shortage of vaccines, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh have spoken up about the shortages and have asked the Centre to help them. Nationalist Congress Party leader Supriya Sule said over 100 vaccination centres remained shut in Maharashtra’s Pune due to the vaccine shortage.
What about other states and Delhi?
Some private hospitals in Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad, near Delhi, are facing a crisis. Reports said a few private hospitals have not been carrying out vaccinations since Monday. The situation in Delhi is also worrisome since the new cases are multiplying beyond the expectation of health ministry mandarins.
What has the Central government said about the vaccine shortage?
The Centre has decided to send 17 lakh doses instead of the earlier-promised 7.3 lakh to Maharashtra. Health Minister Rajesh Tope insisted Maharashtra should get more vaccines and aid states ruled by the BJP were getting enough or more than adequate stocks of the vaccine. Tope said Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are getting over 40 lakh doses, Gujarat over 30 lakh and Haryana over 24 lakh doses.