The Serum Institute of India (SII) has said the vaccine maker has been asked to prioritise India's vaccine needs and balance it out with the supplies to the rest of the world who are procuring the AstraZeneca vaccine doses from India.

SII CEO Adar Poonawalla has said, "Serum Institute of India has been directed to prioritise the huge needs of India and along with that balance the needs of the rest of the world." Poonawalla has asked countries and governments to "be patient" while waiting for the supplies of the vaccine.

In a tweet, Adar Poonawalla has said, "Dear countries & governments, as you await COVISHIELD supplies, I humbly request you to please be patient, Serum Institute of India has been directed to prioritise the huge needs of India and along with that balance the needs of the rest of the world. We are trying our best."

India on Wednesday announced a gift of 2 lakh doses of Covid-19 vaccines for UN peacekeepers.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar made the announcement at the UN Security Council open debate on the implementation of resolution 2532 (2020) on the cessation of hostilities in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Under India's initiative of "Vaccine Maitri", the country has started supplying vaccines to nations across the world and has become a significant source of supply for the World Health Organisation's (WHO) Covax initiative to get vaccines to poor nations.

Serum Institute has supplied vaccines to Brazil, Mexico, Canada among a host of nations while also leading India's vaccination drive along with Covaxin, which has been developed by Bharat Biotech.

India has approved two vaccines - Covaxin developed by Bharat Biotech and Covishield from Oxford/AstraZeneca stable being manufactured by the Serum Institute of India - for emergency use in the country.

Meanwhile, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau recently dialled up PM Modi about Canada's requirements of Covid-19 vaccines from India. PM Modi assured Trudeau that Canada will be supplied with the doses at the earliest.

Prime Minister Modi assured his Canadian counterpart that India would do its best to support Canada's vaccination efforts, just as it had done for many other countries already.

Adar Poonawalla, too, wrote a tweet saying, "Dear Hon'ble PM Justin Trudeau, I thank you for your warm words towards India and it's vaccine industry. As we await regulatory approvals from Canada, I assure you, Serum Institute of India will fly out COVISHIELD to Canada in less than a month; I'm on it!"
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