Export of COVID-19 vaccines can start in about next two weeks, the Business Standard reported, quoting Serum Institute of India (SII)’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Adar Poonawalla.
The news report further cites Poonawalla as saying that exports of the vaccine doses will start only after local requirements are fully met.
The Novavax COVID-19 vaccine candidate is currently under clinical trial in the United States and would have to go through a bridging trial in India.
SII is already manufacturing doses of ‘Covishield’, the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca. The vaccine was granted emergency use authorisation in India earlier this month.
Covishield is one of the two jabs being used as part of the “world’s largest” vaccination exercise that was flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 16.
Priority is being given to healthcare and frontline workers, who had already been registered on the purpose-built CoWIN application. This would be sequentially followed by people with comorbidities, senior citizens, and finally, the general public. The Centre is hoping to vaccinate 30 crore people by July, in a bid to stop the novel coronavirus pandemic.
As of January 17, India had reported more than 1.05 crore confirmed COVID-19 cases. The death toll from the outbreak in the country stood at over 1.52 lakh. While more than 1.01 crore patients had recovered, 2.11 lakh cases remained ‘active’. Globally, more than 9.44 crore individuals have been infected by the virus and over 20.24 lakh people have died so far.
A speedy rollout of vaccines is being seen as the best way to curb the spread of COVID-19 and restore normalcy in the pandemic-battered global economy. More than 50 countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, have already vaccinated a large number of people from high-risk groups.