Serum may cut Covishield's monthly production by half as govt orders dry up

Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute
The world’s biggest vaccine maker Serum Institute of India (SII) on Tuesday said it will reduce the production of the Oxford-Astra­Ze­neca vaccine — marketed as Covishield in India — by at least 50 per cent from next week as government orders have dried up.

Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer of SII, told CNBC-TV18: “The company is in a dilemma as supply is more than demand for Covishield and it has to dial down the production. We will complete our existing orders to the government by next week. The company has written to the government for guidance on volumes needed.”

The Pune-based firm has 500 million doses of Covishield in stock. “Half of that is finished product and half of that is bulk, which can be filled and finished in a matter of two months and it has a shelf life of nine months. It’s available on the priority to the Indian government.”

On the stockpile, the CEO said the firm will start export of the vaccines if the government doesn’t need the stock. “We have recently explained this to the government and we have been discussing so I think we will wait a few days for them to have their internal discussion and get back to us.”

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