Stockpiled Covid vaccines is a worldwide problem. Countries have ordered more Covid vaccines than they can use, according to the globe’s largest manufacturer of jabs.
Adar Poonawalla, chief executive of the Serum Institute of India, warned that “stockpiled Covid vaccines may expire because demand has dipped below supply”.
Gordon Brown last week said the West’s “arithmetic of failure on delivering vaccines was embarrassing”, while Prince Harry on Wednesday, December 1 said “vaccinating the world is a test of our moral character” and claimed a “spectacular failure when it comes to global vaccine equity”.
But Poonwalla, whose plant in Pune produces on a monthly basis 280 million doses of Covid vaccines said: “vaccines were ready to be delivered, but even vulnerable countries are not placing orders”.
“It’s a combination of vaccine hesitancy and nations not coming forward and placing orders in the way in which they claim they would, particularly the African nations,” he said.
“I’m happy to say that on record and I hope they read it because maybe they’ll get activated and do something about it.
“Everywhere I hear the World Health Organisation and others talking about vaccine inequality, but the African nations are refusing to place orders.
“We’ve barely got 20 million doses worth of orders from the African nations. They’re going very slow, claiming that they’re waiting for donations from the US and other reasons. So, there’s a bit of a disconnect.”
Poonawalla said: “We’ve got so much stockpiled Covid vaccines now that we’ve got more than we can vaccinate on a monthly basis in India. The concern is very much that in a month or two shelf life could be an issue.”.
“It has completely reversed,” he said. “There is more supply, in the short term, than countries can absorb on a monthly basis. I don’t think there’s a single country that needs more vaccine but can’t get it. It’s just a matter of them being able to put those jabs in arms.”
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