While efforts are being made to reduce the second wave of Corona virus in the country, the government is also making efforts to intensify the vaccination campaign. However, vaccine deficiency is emerging as a major problem in these efforts. A person familiar with the matter said that since December last year, the government has ordered only 11 crore vaccine doses from the Serum Institute of India (SII). This number is only four percent of the total population of India. Serum is manufacturing the Covishield vaccine in India, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies.
Records of the corona virus have been broken in the country in the last few days. More than three lakh new cases of Kovid are being received daily in India for the past several days. One day this number has crossed four lakhs. Since the onset of the epidemic, no such large number of cases of Kovid were found in a single day in any country. In the midst of all this, the government had also given permission to start vaccination campaign for youth above 18 years of age from May 1 last month. However, due to non-availability of vaccine in time, many state governments are vaccinating people of this age at an extremely slow pace.
Central and state governments are demanding a large number of vaccines from the Serum Institute of India. Serum is the main supplier of vaccine supplies in the country. However, the serum is capable of producing only six to seven crore doses a month, which is targeted to be taken up to 100 million doses by July. The lack of vaccine and the starting of vaccination campaign for people above 18 years of age have also seen a confrontation between the central and state governments. Not only this, recently Serum head Adar Poonawala revealed in an interview that he is receiving threats from several prominent influential people in India. He also moved to the UK with his daughter and wife.
In an interview to the Financial Times, Poonawala said that there is a possibility of vaccine deficiency in the country till July. However, the serum did speed up production. “We never thought that we would need to make more than a hundred crore doses a year,” he said. However, a spokesperson for the Serum Institute refused to make any statement on the Kovid vaccine order.