Covishield-EU issue: Adar Poonawalla says has taken this up at highest level
Serum Institute of India's Adar Poonawalla said on Monday he has spoken with authorities after the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine, which is being manufactured by his company, was excluded from the list of anti-Covid-19 shots that are eligible for the European Union's "Green Pass". "I realise that a lot of Indians who have taken COVISHIELD are facing issues with travel to the E.U., I assure everyone, I have taken this up at the highest levels and hope to resolve this matter soon, both with regulators and at a diplomatic level with countries," Adar Poonawalla tweeted.
Green Pass, which bloc countries can start issuing and using it already will become available in all member states from July, is for an unrestricted movement to those travelling for business and tourism purposes. The pass would be granted to those who have been inoculated with any of the vaccines that have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA).
Only four vaccines have been approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) at present and they can be used by the EU member states to issue the certificates--Comirnaty of Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and Vaxzervria by AstraZeneca-Oxford and Johnson & Johnson's Janssen.
In India, most people have been administered Covishield.
According to news agency PTI, Serum Institute of India has produced over 100 million doses of Covishield in June so far. The agency also cited information given by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) that it has sent 45 batches of Covishield, amounting to 108 million doses to the Central Drugs Laboratory in Kasauli for release in June so far.
In May, SII's director at government and regulatory affairs wrote to Union home minister Amit Shah that Covishield production would be ramped up to 10 crore doses in June.
"We are committed to enhancing the production capacity of our Covishield vaccine and have been working round-the-clock in spite of various challenges being faced by us because of COVID-19 pandemic," Prakash Kumar Singh wrote to Amit Shah. "We are pleased to inform that in the month of June we will be able to manufacture and supply nine to 10 crore doses of our Covishield vaccine to our country as compared to our present production capacity of 6.5 crore doses in May," Singh said.