World’s largest vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla recently took to Twitter to urge the nations and leaders of the world to “be patient” in their wait for SII developed COVID-19 vaccine Covishield. The vaccine manufacturing company CEO in his urge stated that his company has been directed to “prioritise huge needs of India”.  

On Monday, Poonawalla on Twitter wrote: “Dear countries & governments, as you await #COVISHIELD supplies, I humbly request you to please be patient, @SerumInstIndia has been directed to prioritise the huge needs of India and along with that balance the needs of the rest of the world. We are trying our best.” 

Covishield is developed by India’s Serum Institute of India along with British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and Oxford University. It is one of the only two vaccines that have so far been cleared by India’s drug regulator DCGI. The other vaccine approved by DCGI is Covaxin which is developed by the Hyderabad-based pharmaceutical firm Bharat Biotech.  

India has already been one of the biggest aid to countries across the world in their fight against the dangerous COVID-19 virus. Since the inoculation drive, India has been exporting vaccines to many countries. Last month India Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India has been able to help other countries during the pandemic because India is a self-reliant nation.  

Earlier this month, Modi also assured to help Canada PM Justin Trudeau. According to an ANI report, India has assured to supply its COVID-19 vaccines to Canada soon, following a personal request by the Canadian Prime Minister himself. The quantities and the delivery schedules aren’t revealed yet. It should be noted that Canada does not have domestic production of the vaccine and thus, has been contacting countries regarding the issue.  

So far, India has cleared the supply of around 34.5 million COVID-19 vaccines to 25 countries across the world under its “Vaccine Maitri” initiative. These countries are Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Barbados, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Brazil, Dominica, Dubai, Egypt, Kuwait, Maldives, Mauritius, Morocco, Muscat, Myanmar, Nepal, Seychelles, South Africa, Sri Lanka. 

In February, the Ministry of External Affairs cleared vaccine rollout for Nicaragua, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Serbia.  

Even though several nations have stepped up to the cause and have aided other countries in need to vaccinate their populations, new strains of the virus have hampered the countries in their attempts to curb the pandemic. 

Recently, reports came from Japan where several patients were carrying a completely new strain of the COVID-19 virus. Not only is this new strain believed to be more dangerous as it attacks the immune system, but researchers are also of the belief that COVID-19 vaccines may have an inefficacy against it.   

Meanwhile, as of Monday 22nd February, India’s COVID-19 infected patients tally has mounted to 1,09,91,651. On Sunday, India reported another 14,264 new cases. According to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, a total of 90 fatalities were registered on Sunday which has taken the death toll to 1,56,302.  

Although India has been recording less than an average of 15,000 new infections on a daily basis with the death toll not going over the 200 mark, there has been a sharp spike in COVID-19 related cases in various parts of the country.