Vaccine makers meet WTO D-G, flag excess capacity of Covid-19 jabs

Vaccine makers meet WTO D-G, flag excess capacity of Covid-19 jabs

In a meeting with World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the country's top vaccine manufacturers on Thursday raised concerns regarding excess capacity of Covid-19 jabs created during the pandemic.

"With the outbreak of the pandemic, vaccine manufacturers have rapidly created capacities to meet demand. Going ahead, manufacturers are concerned about excess capacity and how it can be utilised," said a person in the know, adding that similar concerns have been raised by manufacturers of other countries as well.

Okonjo-Iweala, who is on a three-day visit to the national Capital, met key industry leaders, including vaccine makers, such as Bharat Biotech Managing Director (MD) Suchitra Ella, Panacea Biotech MD Rajesh Jain, and Biological E Chief Operating Officer Lakshminarayana Neti, among others.

Some manufacturers also said that the regulatory approval framework for Covid-19 vaccines in other nations also takes a substantial amount of time.

They urged the D-G if the WTO could help in ways to reduce delay.

Vaccine makers are concerned about optimal utilisation of excess capacities created during the pandemic.

Ella raised similar concerns at a Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry event on Thursday, and pointed out that when the Covid-19 pandemic is gone, what would happen to the excess capacities created.

“The excess capacities, manpower recruited... what happens? How many companies will be able to sustain it? It will be a global challenge,” said Ella, adding, “Today we want more production, tomorrow who will want that excess production?”