Not enough orders, may cut Covishield output by 50%: SII

NEW DELHI: With not enough orders for Covishield from the Centre, Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla on Tuesday said the company is looking at slashing monthly production of vaccines by at least 50% %. SII has written to the government to seek clarity on its requirement, if any, for normal two doses for eligible people and also on booster doses.
“I’m actually in a dilemma that I never imagined… we are producing 250 million doses a month but the good news is that India has covered up a large part of its population and we would have completed all our orders to the health ministry in a week’s time,” Adar said in an interview to CNBC-TV18.
On his future production strategy, he said as there were “no other orders in hand, so I’m going to reduce the production by at least 50% to begin with…on a monthly basis until the orders again pick up either in India or the world”
“Over the eight months when we couldn’t export, other nations managed vaccine supplies from donations from the US and elsewhere and we have lost a lot of market share,” he said. He added that he is going to try to claw the demand back in the first quarter of next year.
“We must keep in mind that we don’t need a situation like last year where suddenly the country needs hundreds of millions of doses. That won’t be possible if we dial down our production. So that is why we have explained this to the government and experts to let us know now. Just give us that guidance. That discussion is on at the moment,” he further said.
“If they need more vaccines for booster doses, we have written to them (central government),” Adar said.
He said the vaccine major currently has a stock of 500 million doses. “Half of that is finished product and half can be finished in a matter of two months and it has a shelf life of nine months, so we have to decide what to do with the stock. It is available on priority to India and if not, we will start exporting a lot more from quarter.


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