SWITZERLAND. Geneva: COVAX, the global alliance urgently requires 20 million doses to cover interruptions in supply triggered by increased demand in India, the World Health Organizatiion said on Monday. Meanwhile, Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine maker is manufacturing Covidshield. The Covishield vaccine was developed by British-Swedish pharma major AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
In a press release, WHO said, “COVAX urgently needs 20 million doses during the second quarter of 2021 to cover interruptions in supply triggered by increased demands for vaccines in India where COVAX’s main supplier of the AstraZeneca product is based.”
Currently, India is battling with a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The country is recording around 3,00,000 new COVID-19 cases daily. According to the Indian Health Ministry, on Monday, a single day rise of 3,68,147 COVID-19 infections and 3,417 fatalities pushed the country’s tally of cases to 1,99,25,604 and death toll to 2,18,959.
Previously, in an agreement between Gavi and the Serum Instiute it was decided that the Indian vaccine manufacturer will provide Covishield to COVAX. The Covishield was supposed to be distributed to 64 lower-income economies participating in the Gavi COVAX AMC (advance market commitments).
The agreement also included funding to support an increase in manufacturing capacity. Serum Institute’s CEO Adar Poonawalla has said that his firms has orders from the Indian government to supply 11 crore more vaccine doses over the next few months.
Meanwhile, on Monday, European country Sweden announced to share one million doses of AstraZeneca with the COVAX facility.
“Sweden’s announcement that it will share 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines with COVAX is a superb gesture that must be replicated urgently, and repeatedly, by governments around the world to accelerate the equitable rollout of vaccines globally,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.