In India, the European Union has asked for 10 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine to make up for shortages in Europe. An anonymous Indian government official said the Serum Institute of India was recently asked to do so.
Serum stands for the largest vaccine factory in the world, where, among other things, AstraZeneca vaccines are made. The institute is part of the ‘holding’ Poonawalla Investment and Industries and annually produces approximately one and a half billion doses of all kinds of medicines.
The spokesman in New Delhi suspects that Serum is not quick to comply with the request. India itself is engaged in a brutal vaccination campaign, while infections increased in March. The British government has also recently unsuccessfully approached Serum, requesting that the second half of a previously placed order for 10 million AstraZeneca doses be finally delivered. There is growing criticism in India of vaccine exports, while there is a lack of them in the country itself.
Serum was also criticized for making a lot of doses for poorer countries from the UN program COVAX. The Serum has been active internationally for approximately ten years. The first acquisition of a foreign pharmaceutical company by Poonawalla was in our country, Bilthoven Biologicals.
Production problems in the European Union, with a population of 450 million, have led to delays in vaccination campaigns. Several countries have now pinned hopes for the Russian vaccine Sputnik-V. Austria aims to be able to obtain 300,000 Russian doses shortly.
However, the European Medicines Agency EMA has not yet approved the Russian vaccine. Both in Austria and Germany, ministers have said that they will not wait too long for this. Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have already decided to vaccinate with Sputnik-V, regardless of EMA approval.
French Secretary of State for European Affairs, Clément Beaune, said the EMA could not approve the Russian vaccine before the end of June. Western scepticism about the drug has subsided, and entrepreneurs in at least four Western European countries are eager to start producing the vaccine there too.