Mumbai: The Serum Institute of India (SII) may soon ship Covishield vaccine to the United Kingdom, where there has been a rise in the number of corona cases as well as its new variant. This was the outcome of a meeting between the UK Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss and SII CEO Adar Poonawala on Monday. While a formal decision is yet to be reached, the SII has hinted that it has enough stock to cater to the UK's requirement. In the inoculation drive across India, so far, the side effects reported have been negligible.
Poonawala tweeted, “It was an honour to have the Secretary of State for International Trade, UK, @trusslizand a delegation visit our headquarters@SerumInstIndia. We discussed how to further enhance the existing relationship between India and the UK on manufacturing and innovation in the healthcare space.”
However, sources in the know told The Free Press Journal, "SII has sufficient stock but the Government of India has put a curb on the supply of Covishield in India and later, it will allow sale and export. Besides, the UK health regulator will have to give its clearance after its team visit to Pune and other necessary formalities.’’ Sources said the AstraZeneca/Oxford has already entered into a long-term agreement with SII for technology transfer and also for vaccine supply.
Sources said the SII has enough stock but as per the Centre’s decision, the vaccine is supplied for restricted emergency use in the country
The Centre, on February 4, placed a second purchase order with the SII for the supply of one crore doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine Covishield, each costing Rs 210, including GST. On January 11, the government had placed an order for 1.1 crore doses of Covishield at a cost of Rs 231 crore, which has now risen to Rs 441 crore with the placing of the second order.
The government had, on January 11, also committed to buy from the SII 4.5 crore doses of the vaccine, in addition to the first order of 1.1 crore doses. Two vaccines--Covishield and the indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech--have been approved for restricted emergency use in the country.