Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla said on Sunday, February 21, that the vaccine producer has been asked to prioritise Covishield, the AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine produced by SII, for Indians along with balancing the needs of the rest of the world. Taking to Twitter, Poonawalla appealed to countries and governments to be patient and assured that the coronavirus vaccine will be available to the rest of the world who are purchasing the AstraZeneca-Oxford doses from India.
"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," Poonawalla said in a tweet.
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
Last week, the United Nations hailed India for gifting two lakh COVID-19 vaccine doses to UN peacekeepers. A total of 121 nations are contributing uniformed personnel to the UN peacekeeping missions. India is traditionally among the largest troop-contributing countries to peacekeeping missions.
According to the Union Health Ministry, India is supplying COVID-19 vaccines to 40 countries. Between mid-January and the second week of February, India exported more than 1.6 crore doses to around 20 countries. Around 62.7 lakh doses or 37 per cent of the exports to friendly countries were gifts.
Health ministry data shows India will earn revenue of around 63 per cent from the shipment of COVID-19 vaccines, sent to countries like UAE, South Africa, Brazil, Egypt, Morocco, Bangladesh, Algeria and Kuwait. These countries together received more than one crore doses between January 25 and February 2.
Bangladesh purchased the most number of vaccines (around 50 lakh), followed by Brazil and Morocco (20 lakh each), South Africa (10 lakh doses), Kuwait and UAE (2 lakh each), and Egypt and Algeria (50,000 each).
Bangladesh also received the highest number of vaccines as gift from India with 20 lakh doses, followed by Myanmar with 15 lakh, Nepal with 10 lakh, Sri Lanka and Afghanistan with 5 lakh each, Bhutan with 1.5 lakh, Maldives, Mauritius, Bahrain, Oman and Barbados with 1 lakh each, Dominica with 70,000 and Seychelles with 50,000 doses.Also read: India-China border row: What happened during 16-hour long military-level talks? Read here