Already produced 40-50 million dosages of Covishield vaccine: Serum Institute

NEW DELHI, 28 Dec: Serum Institute of India has already produced around 50 million dosages of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine ‘Covishield’ and plans to scale it up to 100 million by March next year, even as it awaits approval for emergency use authorization, a top company official said on Monday.

The company, which has launched the country’s first indigenously developed pneumococcal vaccine Pneumosil for children, said the scaling up of the Covid-19 vaccine would also depend on the overall demand from the government.

In order to introduce an urgently needed vaccine against Covid-19 in India, Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, has entered into a collaboration with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca to manufacture Covishield.

The Pune-based company has applied to the drugs controller general of India (DCGI), seeking emergency use authorization for Covid-19 vaccine in the country.

“We have already manufactured 40-50 million dosages of the vaccine. The rollout of the vaccine is expected to be a bit slow in the initial phase due to logistics issue and is expected to pick up once things get sorted,” SII CEO Adar Poonawalla told reporters.

He said the company plans to ramp up the vaccine production to 100 million dosages per month by March next year with the coming up of SII’s third manufacturing facility.

Poonawalla said the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine could be approved in the UK soon.

By next month, the vaccine can also be approved in India, he noted. (PTI)