World’s largest vaccine maker asked world to wait

The world’s largest vaccine maker has hinted that exports of CoV vaccines could face delays. The head of India’s Serum Institute, Adar Poonawalla, wrote on Twitter that his institute had been instructed to “prioritize India’s huge needs and meanwhile balance the needs of the rest of the world.” The company manufactures AstraZeneca’s vaccine under the Covishield name at low prices, among other products.

India is often referred to as the “pharmacy of the world.” The world’s second most populous country says it produces about half of the world’s vaccines. India had also recently given away millions of doses of CoV vaccine to poorer countries in its region and beyond. More have been sold. For India, this is an opportunity to boost its image in the region – even in the face of neighboring China, which outnumbers India militarily and economically.

But India also needs a lot of vaccines itself, and plans to vaccinate about 300 million people by summer – a little less than a quarter of its 1.3 billion population. Until recently, CoV numbers in the country had been relatively low. Only around 10,000 new infections were recorded every day, compared with almost 100,000 a day at its peak last summer.

Some experts spoke of some immunity in the population, and antibody tests indicated that many carried the virus asymptomatically. However, with lower case numbers, people had become more careless, and more infectious CoV mutations had recently been found from the United Kingdom, Brazil, and South Africa. Most recently, there has been a resurgence in case numbers in some regions, including the metropolitan area of Mumbai.

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