NEW DELHI (Reuters) – The Serum Institute of India (SII) has informed Brazil, Saudi Arabia and Morocco that further supplies of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine will be delayed due to surging domestic demand and because it is working through capacity expansion, a source who knowing firsthand the matter told Reuters.
The news comes as India, the world’s biggest vaccine maker, has come under criticism at home for donating or selling more doses than inoculations done at home, despite reporting the highest number of coronavirus infections after the United States and Brazil.
India is currently seeing a second spike in cases, bringing the total to around 11.6 million.
The latest delays, first reported daily by the Times of India, come days after Britain said it must slow down the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine next month as SII is likely to deliver more doses later than expected.
SII has supplied half of the 10 million doses recently ordered by the UK.
Brazil has received 4 million doses of SII, Saudi Arabia 3 million doses and Morocco 7 million, according to India’s foreign ministry. here. The three countries each ordered 20 million.
Reuters was unable to immediately contact country representatives or determine if they had agreed to the revised delivery schedule.
SII, the largest vaccine maker, declined to comment. It has partnered with AstraZeneca, the Gates Foundation and the Gavi vaccine alliance to create up to one billion doses for poor countries.
The source, who declined to be named, said SII was working to increase its monthly production to 100 million doses in April / May, from 60 million to 70 million now, indicating that supplies could increase by then.
SII was originally supposed to sell vaccines only to middle and low income countries, especially in Asia and Africa, but production problems at AstraZeneca’s other facilities forced it to ship to many other countries as well on behalf of British companies.
India has so far donated 8 million doses and sold nearly 52 million doses to a total of 75 countries, notably the AstraZeneca injection made by SII. India has administered more than 44 million doses since starting an immunization campaign in mid-January.
Reporting by Krishna N. Das and Euan Rocha; Edited by Kim Coghill