COVID-19 vaccine: Delhi govt urges Serum Institute to 'come to rescue' after it runs out of Covaxin

Besides asking the Adar Poonawalla-backed pharma behemoth to come to its rescue, the Delhi government's letter mentioned that vaccination centres will have to be shut down due to the non-availability of vaccines

Delhi government has written to Pune-based Serum Institute of India to "come to its rescue", adding it has a week's stock of Covishield for 18-44 years. The letter further mentioned that vaccination centres will have to be shut down due to the non-availability of vaccines.

This letter came after Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech stated it cannot supply more vaccine doses to Delhi. The Serum Institute replied to this and said that they are doing their best to meet countrywide vaccine requirements.

"We rely on your support for provision of sufficient quantities of vaccine in a time-bound manner. Delhi has a limited stock of Covishield for 18 to 44 years which will finish in one week and vaccination centres will have to be closed due to non-availability of vaccines," Director of Family Welfare in Delhi Government Dr Monika Rana wrote in the letter to SII.  

Also read: 50 Bharat Biotech employees test positive for COVID-19

Dr Rana further wrote that to prevent this situation, the pharma giant must "come to our rescue" and provide more vaccine doses urgently.

Director of Government and Regulatory Affairs at Serum Institute of India Prakash Singh responded to this and said the company is working tirelessly under the leadership of its CEO Adar Poonawalla to produce Covishield and "is committed to further ramping up the production to its maximum rated capacity in coming two three months to meet the COVID-19 vaccine needs of our country."

Singh added that SII is working to its best possible potential to fulfil the vaccine requirements of the Centre, state governments and private hospitals across India as per the Central government's directions.  

This, however, is not the first time that the Delhi government has flagged the issue of COVID-19 vaccine shortages.

Also read: Kejriwal urges Centre to share Serum, Bharat Biotech's vaccine formula with other companies

"Only 2 companies are producing vaccines. They produce only 6-7 crore vaccines a month. This way, it'll take over 2 years to vaccinate everyone. Many waves would've come by then. Important to increase vaccine production on war footing and frame national plan to vaccinate all", Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal stated in his letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week.

Deputy Chief Minister of Delhi Manish Sisodia had claimed earlier this week that Bharat Biotech has refused to supply more doses of Covaxin to Delhi. Sisodia added Delhi's reserve of COVID-19 vaccine is exhausted and the Centre should stop all exports to fulfil the domestic demand.

Edited by Mehak Agarwal

Also read: Bharat Biotech has declined to supply any more vaccines to Delhi, says Manish Sisodia