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SII to cut production by 50%

Our Bureau | | | Updated on: Dec 07, 2021
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No orders for Covid vaccines or guidance on boosters, says CEO

Vaccine-maker Serum Institute of India has indicated it will reduce production by 50 per cent as it has completed its existing commitment to the government, and has not received any further orders or guidance on the booster policy, going forward.

SII Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla said they produced 250 million doses per month, but he was in a dilemma now as there were no orders from the government and the process with WHO-support Covax also takes time. With vaccine coverage doing well in the country, SII was looking to dial back on its production, he said in a television interview, because there was no guidance on a policy for booster shots.

In the eight months the company was not allowed to export, other countries had managed their supplies and through donations from the US, he said, adding that Indian companies had lost out. He expected to regain some of that ground by early next year. The requirement may never be back to 250 million doses a month, he said, “unless India requires and makes a policy for boosters and to vaccinate the rest of the population for which it has stocks for the two doses, but if it needs more vaccines for the booster doses”.

The company has written to the Centre on this, and “now its their decision on the booster policy whether they will procure more and stockpile before the next surge happens, if at all it comes. That’s for the experts to decide and we are awaiting their directions”, he said, cautioning against a last-minute decision like last year when millions of doses were required at short notice.

“That wont be possible if we dial down our production,” he said. The issue had been raised with the government and experts seeking their guidance, and a “discussion is on at the moment”, he said.

Published on December 08, 2021

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