The Struggles of India’s Vaccine Giant

The Struggles of India’s Vaccine Giant

06/24/2021

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When the coronavirus hit, the Serum Institute of India seemed uniquely positioned to help.

It is world’s largest vaccine maker, producing 1.5 billion doses a year for diseases from polio to tetanus.

Striking a deal with AstraZeneca, its leaders promised to make and deliver a billion doses of vaccine to low- and middle-income nations.

Earlier this year, however, a second wave of the coronavirus hit India hard and Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided to ban all exports of vaccines.

What has this ban meant for the nations that were promised millions of doses, and for the Serum Institute itself?

On today’s episode

Emily Schmall, a South Asia correspondent for The New York Times based in New Delhi.

Background reading

The Serum Institute vowed to protect its country from the coronavirus and inoculate the world’s poor, but India’s crisis has pushed it past its limits.

Big-power muscle flexing helps explain many of the world’s vaccine inequities, but there’s another problem: The manufacturing challenge is unprecedented.

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Emily Schmall and Karan Deep Singh contributed reporting.

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