Adar Poonawalla, chief executive of the Serum Institute of India, has warned the world has stockpiled more vaccines than it can use.
Poonawalla – who has been at the helm of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer for 10 years – has said distribution, infrastructure challenges and a general vaccine hesitancy are the main causes behind the limits of global vaccination efforts, the Sunday Times reported.
The pharma boss said that, even though vaccines are ready to be delivered and are at risk of going out of date, vulnerable countries – especially in the African continent – are not placing enough orders.
“Everywhere I hear the World Health Organisation and others talking about vaccine inequality, but the African nations are refusing to place orders,” Poonawalla told the Sunday Times.
“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.”
With a production rate of 280 million doses of Covid per month, the Serum Institute of India – and other manufacturers – are now struggling to get countries to absorb their demand fast enough to avoid millions of doses going to waste.
“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,” he added.
“On a monthly basis, if you look at the production versus the uptake, we’re definitely on the plus side in terms of supply.”