Defending its move of exporting its Covid-19 vaccines, Serum Institute of India (SII) on Tuesday said that it never exported vaccines at the cost of the people in India.
Stating that SII has tirelessly been working with the Centre to provide adequate Covid-19 vaccines to India, the company said it remains committed to supporting India’s inoculation drive.
The company’s statement comes in the backdrop of many sections in India criticising SII and the Centre for their earlier decision of shipping Covid-19 vaccines to other countries.
The issue gained prominence after several Congress and AAP leaders questioned the Centre regarding the same.
Taking to Twitter, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Sunday posted a picture of a poster, which read "Modi ji, why did you send our children's vaccines abroad".
Giving the background on the decision to export vaccines, SII said, "In January 2021, we had a large stockpile of vaccine doses. Our vaccination drive had started successfully and the number of daily cases being recorded were at an all-time low."
Around the same time, many other countries in the world were facing an acute crisis and were in desperate need of help. The Indian government extended support wherever possible during this period, it added.
"Today, it is this reciprocity, where India has helped other countries with the supply of HCQ and vaccine exports, that has in turn led to support from other countries," SII said.
This pandemic is not limited by geographic or political boundaries, the company said. "We will not be safe till everyone globally is able to defeat this virus at a global scale. Further, as part of our global alliances, we also had commitments to COVAX, so that they could distribute the vaccines globally to end the pandemic," it added.
Another important factor that people do not tend to realise is that India is among the two most populous countries in the world, and a vaccination drive for such a large population cannot be completed within 2-3 months, as there are several factors and challenges involved, SII said.
"SII has delivered more than 200 million doses, even though we received EUA (emergency use authorisation) two months after the US pharma companies, " it added.
Serum continues to scale up manufacturing and prioritise India. It also hopes to start delivering to COVAX and other countries by end of this year, the statement said.
"We would like to reiterate that we have never exported vaccines at the cost of the people in India and remain committed to do everything we can in the support of the vaccination drive in the country," it said.
SII has been working with the government tirelessly to do its best for humanity and will continue in the same spirit, it added.
"This is the time for all of us to unite and work together to defeat the pandemic," SII said.
(With PTI inputs)