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11 May, 2021 - 13:47 By Tony Quested

AstraZeneca pledges $1m of aid plus more vaccines for Covid-hit India

Cambridge Big Biotech AstraZeneca has pledged $1 million in humanitarian aid to support relief activities in India as well as other communities around the world hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This includes directing $250k to Direct Relief to support its efforts in India, which includes the distribution of oxygen concentrators, medicines, other supplies and personal protective equipment to provide treatment and care for those with COVID-19. And it is on top of a pledge to pump more vaccines into India before the summer.

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said: “We remain steadfast in our continued commitment to changing the course of the pandemic for the people of India. 

“We hope that through increasing vaccinations, humanitarian relief efforts, and critical donations of medicines and needed equipment, India will steadily recover from this crisis. We stand united with the people of India, as we work tirelessly to bring this pandemic to an end as quickly as possible.”

The pandemic continues to cause devastation around the world with India currently facing an incredible humanitarian crisis from a surge of COVID-19 cases and related deaths. 

To date, approximately 10 per cent of India’s population of 1.3 billion has received one dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine – known in India as Covishield – accounting for 90 per cent of all vaccinations. 

AstraZeneca’s partner in India, Serum Institute of India (SII), already produces more COVID-19 vaccine doses than any other organisation globally.

Access to COVID-19 vaccination is a critical component in tackling the pandemic, in India and beyond. AstraZeneca says that this is why it has devoted its time, resources and energy to develop a vaccine that is available at no profit during the pandemic and supplied equitably to as many people as possible.

Adar Poonawalla, CEO, SII, said: “We thank AstraZeneca for its unwavering support. We are working together to scale up and committed to provide more vaccines to India by July. This will help us to protect countless lives against this devastating virus.”

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