GUWAHATI: The Serum Institute of India(SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on Tuesday said that it is looking upon reducing the production of vaccines by at least 50 percent as there has been no orders from the Central government regarding Covishield requirement.
Further, the SII has written to the government on asking for clarity on its requirement,if any,for normal doses and booster doses.
"I am 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 Ministry of Health in a week's time," Mr Poonawalla said in an interview to CNBC-TV18.
Mr Poonawalla further pointed out that the export of Covishield is slow and is likely to increase during the next quarter.
"Over the eight months when we could not export, other countries managed vaccine supplies from donations from the US and elsewhere and we have lost a lot of market share," he said, however, added that he is now going to try to claw the demand back in the first quarter of next year.
"If they need more vaccines for the booster doses, we have already written to them (central government). Now it is their decision on the booster policy whether they will procure more and stockpile before the next surge happens, if at all it comes. We are awaiting their directions," he added.
He further said: "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 please let us know now. If you need more doses for boosters we have it in stock, we can produce more. Just give us that guidance. That discussion is on at the moment."
Mr Poonawalla 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 one of 2022," he stated.
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