Fri. Feb 26th, 2021

SII to send 20 lakh doses of vaccine to Brazil in 2 weeks PUNE: Serum Institute of India (SII) will dispatch its first overseas consignment of 20 lakh doses of the Covishield vaccine to Brazil two weeks from now, chief executive officer (CEO) Adar Poonawalla said on Friday.

The consignment will be moved from the company’s manufacturing unit in Pune to Mumbai airport in a refrigerated truck. A specially equipped aircraft from Brazil is expected to airlift the vaccine doses from Mumbai.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro had recently requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to export a consignment of Covishield without disrupting India’s mass vaccination of priority groups, starting Saturday.

“We have ample stocks. The export is not going to disrupt India’s vaccination programme in any way,” Poonawalla told TOI. SII has 50 million doses of the vaccine ready at its Manjari plant in Pune. Besides, it has scaled up its production to 50-70 million doses per month since the beginning of 2021.

Besides South Asia, many countries in Latin America and South Africa are also in touch with the Indian government and SII for the procurement of Covishield. “However, our first priority has always been our own country. Once that is taken care of, we can start exporting the vaccine doses to other countries in full swing,” Poonawalla said.

SII dispatched 1.1 crore doses of Covishield to the Indian government’s supply chain after the latter placed its first order on January 11. The doses were distributed across the country between January 12 and January 14.

“Besides Serum, the Brazilian government will also seek some stock of vaccine doses from Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech,” a source privy to the process said.

Brazil is currently grappling with a second wave of Covid-19. So far, the virus has killed 2,00,498 people in Brazil, according to health ministry figures. This is the second highest toll worldwide, after the United States, where the death toll is 3,63,000.

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