Serum has indicated Covid-19 vaccine price to government; will be affordable: Poonawalla

Our Bureau Pune | Updated on November 28, 2020 Published on November 28, 2020

Adar Poonawalla, Chairman, Poonawalla Finance

Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO and owner Adar Poonawalla said that the SII is discussing with the government on the distribution of Covid-19 vaccine and has indicated the price would be affordable to everyone. He added that the Ministry of Health wants 300-400 million doses by July 2021.

Poonawalla was speaking to reporters after PM Narendra Modi’s visit to SII.

He said: “We are talking about how and where to distribute doses with the government and also we indicated a price which is affordable to everybody and accessible to everybody. So, at the moment till we get emergency use license we probably won’t be able to comment on how many doses will go where.

"We have to wait for few weeks for that to happen, but I think everybody is aware that Ministry of Health wants 300-400 million doses by July 2021 so we are trying to get to that target.”

He added that SII has not yet signed any document with the government to provide doses.

“We are producing 50-60 million doses a month and after January- February that will be scaled up to 100 million doses per month. The vaccine will be distributed initially in India and COVAX countries mainly in Africa. The UK and European markets are being taken care of by AstraZeneca and Oxford. If they need help in scaling up their manufacturing we are away there to support them. But our priority is going to be India and COVAX countries” he added.

Poonawalla said that panic and negative messages about Covid-19 vaccine will create doubts in the minds of people and India will have a situation where vaccines are available but people avoid them.

Poonawalla said: “In the world today where everyone is questioning vaccines and vaccine hesitancy we should collaborate together, the media, manufacturers, government of India and everybody to send the right messaging out and not spread any panic and negative news unnecessarily without getting down to the facts.”

He added its only when the facts have been confirmed messages about the vaccine should be sent out.

“We don’t want to build doubt in the minds of people today, especially in the time of the pandemic and have a situation where vaccines are available but some people are hesitant to take them because they bit unsure or skeptical of safety.”

Poonawalla added, “I feel we should only put out messages that are properly confirmed in terms of fact-checking from the Ministry of Health and the manufacturers before we put anything and create any negative panic around vaccines because we need to project the power of vaccines and how they can save our lives and our children.”

When asked if Serum planning to conduct additional trials post the recent results which have been announced by AstraZeneca. “ No, because at the moment the trials are more than enough. There was a bit of confusion in communication which will be explained in the coming days. But that is not going affect the emergency use license in UK and India.”

The Serum Institute will apply within two weeks for the emergency use of the coronavirus vaccine being developed by the University of Oxford and pharma giant AstraZeneca.

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Published on November 28, 2020
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