Pune city's police on Thursday confirmed the death of five people in a fire at the plant of India's Serum Institute (SII), the world's largest vaccine manufacturer.
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Although the blazes did not reach the place where COVID-19 vaccines are being produced, the fire did affect facilities where rotaviruses vaccines are developed.
"The five people who died were perhaps the workers at the under-construction building. The cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained but it is being speculated that welding caused the fire," said Pune Mayor Murlidhar Mohol.
Currently, millions of doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine are being produced at the SII plant located at Hadapsar city.
SII chief executive officer Adar Poonawalla noted that the fire would disrupt the rotavirus vaccine supply by about 30 to 40 percent. Rotaviruses are the most common cause of diarrhoeal disease among infants and young children.
On Jan. 16, India began its vaccination campaign set to immunize 30 million healthcare workers and auxiliary workers. Around 786,000 doses have been administered so far.
India is the second country in terms of confirmed COVID-19 cases. As of Thursday morning, it had reported 10,611,719 cases and 152,869 deaths.