India to send 10 million AstraZeneca vaccines to UK
The UK will receive 10 million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses made by the Serum Institute of India (SII), the UK government said on Tuesday.
“The UK has ordered 100 million doses of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, of which 10 million doses will come from the Serum Institute of India,” a UK government spokesperson said. A slew of low-and middle-income countries ranging from Bangladesh to Brazil are dependent on SII’s AstraZeneca vaccine, branded COVISHIELD, but demand has been growing from Western countries.
SII, the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, is mass producing the AstraZeneca vaccine, developed with Oxford University, for dozens of poor and middle-income countries.
The UK government said the agreement follows assurances from the SII that providing doses to the UK would not impact its commitment to provide vaccines to poorer countries.
The UK was the first country to start its vaccination drive in December last year. The country began rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. Britain has been ahead at inoculating people, with nearly 20.5 million residents receiving the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine so far, according to official data.