The Serum Institute of India has informed the central government that it will be able to manufacture and supply nine to 10 crore doses of its coronavirus vaccine, Covishield, in June, reported PTI on Sunday, quoting a letter written by the pharmaceutical firm to Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

In the letter, Prakash Kumar Singh, the director of government and regulatory affairs at the Serum Institute, noted that the production capacity of the firm was 6.5 crore doses in May, which will be increased to provide 9-10 doses in June. Singh said that the company’s employees have been working round the clock despite facing various challenges because of the pandemic.

“Serum Institute of India has always been sincerely concerned about the protection of the citizens of our country and world at large from Covid-19,” Singh said in the letter. “Under the leadership of our CEO [chief executive officer], Adar C Poonawalla, our team has been working relentlessly shoulder to shoulder with our government to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The director assured the home minister that it will utilise all its resources to increase the capacity of the vaccine for July too. In early May, the Serum Institute had told the Centre that it would boost the production of Covishield by up to 6.5 crore in June, seven crore in July and 10 crore each in August and September.

India is currently using Serum Institute’s Covishield and Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin for vaccinating its citizens. The Drugs Controller General of India has also approved Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, which is only being administered at a few private hospitals.

The Serum Institute’s decision to ramp up production comes amid a vaccine shortage in the country, which has severely curtailed India’s inoculation drive. Several states are seeking to procure vaccines through global tenders or by approaching manufacturers directly. Some administrations have complained that global vaccine makers had refused to coordinate with them.

On Friday, the Centre claimed that everyone in India will be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 by the end of 2021.

India has so far administered 20,88,24,151 shots, with 4,30,79,057 getting both doses. On Sunday, India registered 1,65,553 new coronavirus cases, taking its tally of infections to 2,78,94,800 since the pandemic broke out in January last year. This is the lowest number of new infections recorded in a single day in 46 days. The country’s toll rose to 3,25,972 as it recorded 3,460 deaths in the last day.

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