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A Serum Institute of India truck driving in Maharashtra, India, on May 5. Photo: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg via Getty Imagesg

The Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest maker of vaccines, announced Tuesday that it expects to resume exporting coronavirus vaccines by the end of 2021.

Why it matters: The delay could be a major setback for the United Nations-backed COVAX initiative, which was created to help pool resources to produce and distribute coronavirus vaccines to countries regardless of their wealth.

Context: The institute was forced to pause exports in March because of a massive surge in cases in India.

  • Serum Institute and vaccine developer Novavax agreed to supply 1.1 billion doses of Novavax's coronavirus vaccine to COVAX.
  • Prolonged, unequal access to vaccines may allow the coronavirus to spread and dangerously mutate in unvaccinated parts of the world.

What they're saying: "The Covid-19 crisis has been difficult on people across the globe, including India," Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India, said in a statement Tuesday.

  • "We must also understand that this pandemic is not limited by geographic or political boundaries. We will not be safe until everyone globally is able to defeat this virus."
  • "Another important factor that people do not tend to realize is that we are amongst the two most populous countries in the world, a vaccination drive for such a large population cannot be completed within 2-3 months, as there are several factors and challenges involved. That said, it would take 2-3 years for the entire world population to get fully vaccinated."
  • "We would like to reiterate that we have never exported vaccines at the cost of the people of India and remain committed to do everything we can in the support of the vaccination drive in the country."

Go deeper: Head of world's largest vaccine maker urges Biden to lift export ban on raw materials

Go deeper

Updated Nov 26, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: U.S. to mandate vaccines for anyone who crosses borders starting in January — Shots lagged data by months — The next big bottleneck in the global vaccination effort.
  2. Health: The Thanksgiving bouncers — Axios-Ipsos poll: Thanksgiving roulette — Experts criticize CDC's language on vaccine boosters — America's Thanksgiving gamble.
  3. Politics: Biden administration asks appeals court to reinstate vaccine mandate — Michigan recommends face masks for all residents amid surge.
  4. Education: A COVID strategy backfires at schools — Schools across the U.S. offer vaccine drivesBenefits of in-person school outweigh risks, study finds.
  5. World: EU drug regulator recommends Pfizer COVID vaccine for kids — Italy announces new COVID restrictions for unvaccinated people — European health agency urges expanding booster shot access.
  6. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Aug 25, 2021 - Health

J&J says its COVID booster significantly increases antibodies

Vials and syringes of the Johnson & Johnson Janssen COVID-19 vaccine are displayed. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/AFP via Getty Images

A booster shot of the Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine offers a significant increase in antibodies, the company announced Wednesday.

Driving the news: People who received a booster shot six to eight months after their first J&J dose saw "a rapid and robust increase in spike-binding antibodies, nine-fold higher than 28 days after the primary single-dose vaccination," J&J said.

Aug 25, 2021 - Health

Pentagon orders troops to get COVID-19 vaccine immediately

A U.S. Air Force sergeant receives a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Osan Air Base in Dec. 2020 in South Korea. Photo: United States Forces Korea via Getty Images

The Pentagon on Wednesday ordered military troops to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible, according to a memo from Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin obtained by AP.

Why it matters: Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby said Wednesday that "on the active duty force, 68% is fully vaccinated, and we estimate just over 76% have at least one dose."