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Serum Institute-Bharat Biotech pledge to supply Covid-19 vaccines globally

Our Bureau. Mumbai | Updated on January 05, 2021

Serum Institute of India (file photo) Reuters   -  REUTERS

After the high-octane criticism of each other’s vaccines, Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech appear to have sunk their differences and pledged to provide Covid-19 vaccines globally.

In a joint statement, Serum Institute Chief Executive Adar Poonawalla and Bharat Biotech founder Dr Krishna Ella conveyed their combined intent to develop, manufacture and supply Covid-19 vaccines for India and the world.

The more important task is to save lives and livelihoods, they said, adding: “Vaccines are a global public health good and they have the power to save lives and accelerate the return to economic normalcy at the earliest.”

After India gave its go-ahead to Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech’s Covid-19 vaccines for restricted emergency use on Sunday, a controversy erupted as public health voices and politicians raised concerns on the approval process. As safety and efficacy issues were expressed, given the fast-tracked process, the situation was further vitiated as vaccine politics came into play.

The two vaccine chiefs also took public pot-shots at each other, with Bharat Biotech responding yesterday in strong words to criticism of his company’s vaccine, including the Serum chief’s statement that other vaccines had “safety like water”.

On Tuesday , though, the two chiefs projected a more united front, saying: “Now that two Covid-19 vaccines have been issued EUA (emergency use authorisation) in India, the focus is on manufacturing, supply and distribution, such that populations that need it the most receive high quality, safe and efficacious vaccines. Both our companies are fully engaged in this activity and consider it our duty to the nation and the world at large to ensure a smooth rollout of vaccines.”

Further they said, “We are fully aware of the importance of vaccines for people and countries alike, we hereby communicate our joint pledge to provide global access for our Covid19 vaccines.”

WHO, Gates laud move

The united vaccine front comes even as India’s restricted approvals on two vaccines came in for praise from the World Health Organisation chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Bill Gates.

“India continues to take decisive action & demonstrate its resolve to end #Covid-19 pandemic. As the world’s largest vaccine producer it’s well placed to do so. If we #ACTogether, we can ensure effective & safe vaccines are used to protect the most vulnerable everywhere,” Dr Tedros said tagging Prime Minister Modi on a micro-blogging site. Bill Gates tweeted: “It’s great to see India’s leadership in scientific innovation and vaccine manufacturing capability as the world works to end the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Published on January 05, 2021

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