India vaccine maker destroys 100 million doses of expired Covid jab

Image credit: BBC

The Covid-19 vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in India, had to be disposed of after 100 million doses had been produced.

According to CEO Adar Poonawalla, the company ceased manufacturing Covishield in December of last year due to low demand.

The Vaxzevria vaccine from AstraZeneca has been produced locally by SII, the biggest vaccine manufacturer in the world.

In India, Covishield makes up more than 90% of all dosages.

Over two billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccination have been given out in India. According to the federal health ministry, more than 70% of Indians have ingested at least two doses.

India started providing boosters in January 2022 to frontline healthcare personnel, those over 60, and people with comorbid conditions. Later, it was made available to all adults.

To commemorate 75 years of India’s independence, free booster doses, or precaution doses as the government refers to them, were given to all adults in July for 75 days.

According to the health ministry, India has only given out 298 million booster doses thus far.

The SII reportedly had about 100 million doses of Covishield in stock, according to Mr. Poonawala. The vaccines’ nine-month shelf life expired in September of this year.

The CEO was addressing an audience outside the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN) annual general meeting in Pune, western India.

According to Mr. Poonawala, patients may receive a COVID vaccination in addition to their annual flu shot in the future. But unlike the West, India does not have a culture that values yearly flu shots.

Mr. Poonawala added that the COVID vaccination, Covovax as a booster dose, had completed SII trials. Within the next two weeks, according to the company, the vaccine should receive approval.

According to him, it has also collaborated on an Omicron-specific booster with the US biotech firm Novavax.

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