The United Kingdom is set to receive 10 million doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII). The development was confirmed by the UK government, who also released a statement on the same. According to a UK government spokesperson, "The UK has ordered 100 million doses of AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, of which 10 million doses will come from the Serum Institute of India."
Earlier in February, media reports had said Britain's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) was auditing the manufacturing processes at SII to pave the way for the AstraZeneca vaccine to be shipped from there to the UK.
A slew of low-and middle-income countries ranging from Bangladesh to Brazil are dependent on SII's AstraZeneca vaccine, branded COVISHIELD, but demand has been growing from Western countries.
The UK government said the agreement follows assurances from the SII that providing doses to the UK would not impact its commitment to provide vaccines to poorer countries.
Britain has been ahead at inoculating people, with nearly 20.5 million residents receiving the first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine so far, according to official data.
SII, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, is mass producing the AstraZeneca vaccine, developed with Oxford University, for dozens of poor and middle-income countries.