In January, the South Asian country launched the world’s largest vaccination campaign for some 300 million people out of its whopping 1.3 billion people. As of Wednesday evening, more than 36 million people were vaccinated according to data from the Indian Ministry of Health.
“The number of doses needed in India is huge,” Suresh Jadhav told CNBC’s “Capital Connection”, adding that the immunization program is a gigantic task that cannot be rushed to complete in a short period of time. .
“At a rate of about 50 (million) to 60 million doses per month, this program will continue and they will cover this population of 300 million in another period of about three to four months,” he said. .
Jadhav attended the 2021 Asian Development Bank Southeast Asian Development Symposium this week.
The Serum Institute, based in Pune, India, has become a crucial player in Covid vaccination efforts in India and around the world. It is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume and manufactures the Covid-19 vaccine developed by Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford, known locally as Covishield.
It has provided millions of doses to the Indian government as well as Covax, a global immunization initiative led by the World Health Organization and others to ensure equitable distribution of vaccines in less wealthy countries.
Pratham Gokhale | Hindustan Times | Getty Images
Jadhav explained that the Serum Institute is able to meet current orders that have been placed by the Indian government and said it has already supplied around 59 million doses to Covax. He added that Serum Institute plans to expand its capacity by the end of April or early May, as it intends to increase production from 40 million to 50 million more doses.
At present, the Serum Institute could produce over 70 million doses per month.
Last week, the United States, Japan and Australia pledged to help Indian companies expand their Covid vaccine production capacities and deliver more doses to the global supply pool.
India is also using a locally developed vaccine from Bharat Biotech that was created in collaboration with the state-run Indian Council for Medical Research.