The chief executive of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer has warned that not enough Covid-19 vaccines will be available for everyone in the world to be inoculated until the end of 2024 at the earliest.
Adar Poonawalla, chief executive of the Serum Institute of India, told the Financial Times that pharmaceutical companies were not increasing production capacity quickly enough to vaccinate the global population in less time.
“It’s going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet,” said Mr Poonawalla, who estimated that if the Covid-19 shot is a two-dose vaccine — such as measles or rotavirus — the world will need 15bn doses.
Based in the western Indian city of Pune, the family-run Serum Institute has partnered with five international pharmaceutical firms, including AstraZeneca and Novavax, to develop a Covid-19 vaccine and committed to produce 1bn doses, of which it has pledged half to India. The company may also partner with Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute to manufacture the Sputnik vaccine.
Mr Poonawalla said that the commitment far exceeded the capacity of other vaccine producers. “I know the world wants to be optimistic on it . . . [but] I have not heard of anyone coming even close to that [level] right now,” he said in a video call from London.