India hands over 2 mn vaccine doses to Bangladesh

Clay Curtis
January 22, 2021

Earlier, a big fire on Thursday afternoon at the Serum Institute of India killed five people, a government official told reporters, but the world's biggest vaccine maker said it would not affect production of the AstraZeneca coronavirus shot.

Pawar visited the site of the fire this evening to inspect the fire at the Serum Institute's plant in Manjari near Hadapsar.

In the first phase, the vaccines will be administered to frontline health workers, employees and security personnel, according to Tripathi.

Television channels showed thick clouds of grey smoke billowing from the site in Pune in western India.

The world's largest facility for producing the coronavirus vaccine caught fire on Thursday with no known cause as of yet. It may be noted that the country's apex drugs regulator had granted restricted emergency use permission to SII's Covishield vaccine in India.

The company said the fire was restricted to a new facility it is constructing to increase production of COVID-19 vaccines and ensure it is better prepared for future pandemics.

Serum CEO Adar Poonawalla: "We have just received some distressing updates; upon further investigation we have learnt that there has unfortunately been some loss of life at the incident".

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On Wednesday, Bhutan and the Maldives became the first two countries to receive the COVID-19 vaccines from India.

The government aims to vaccinate two thirds of its population, around 40 million out of almost 60 million people, to achieve herd immunity by the end of 2021.

Pune: At least 5 people have died on in the fire that took place at Pune's Serum Institute of India.

"As per initial information, the fire did not erupt at the unit where the COVID-19 vaccine is being produced, but in the unit where the BCG vaccine is produced", Thackeray said.

Millions of vaccine doses are being manufactured by Serum Institute under technical collaboration with Oxford University/Astra Zeneca.

Rescue workers discovered five bodies in the under-construction building after the blaze was brought under control, media reports said, but the company insisted its production of drugs to counter the coronavirus pandemic was not affected.

India's External Affairs minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar said his country was fulfilling "its commitment to give vaccines to humanity..."

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