New Delhi: India will not allow the export of the Oxford University-AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine for several months, the head of Serum Institute of India, which has been contracted to make 1 billion doses of the vaccine for developing nations, said on Sunday.
With rich nations reserving most of the vaccines that will be made this year, Serum Institute — the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer — is likely to make most of the inoculations for developing countries. The ban on exports, however, means that poorer nations will probably have to wait a few months before receiving their first shots.
The vaccine was granted emergency authorization by the Indian regulator on Sunday, but on the condition that Serum Institute doesn’t export the shots to ensure that vulnerable populations in India are protected, Adar Poonawalla, the company’s CEO, said in a phone interview with Associated Press.
He said that the company also has been barred from selling the vaccine on the private market.
As a result, he said, the export of vaccines for COVAX — the ambitious initiative created to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines set up by the World Health Organization, vaccines alliance GAVI and CEPI, a global coalition to fight epidemics — won’t begin until March or April.