India to help fund capacity boost at Serum Institute as vaccines run low

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India is set to accept the Serum Institute of India’s (SII) request for a grant of 30 billion rupees ($400 million) to boost its capacity to make the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, a government source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

SII, the world’s biggest vaccine maker, had sought the funds to increase its monthly capacity to more than 100 million doses by the end of May, from up to 70 million currently.

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“We are clear that we will give whatever support is necessary for development and boosting availability of vaccines in the country,” the source said on Sunday, declining to be identified as he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

As coronavirus infections overwhelm the country, the government is struggling to meet demand for vaccine doses. It has now fast-tracked imports and also trying to expand production of its only domestically developed shot, COVAXIN.

Another source close to the company said late last week SII was expecting the money to come through.

A finance ministry spokesman declined to comment. SII did not respond to a request for comment.

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