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Serum Institute: Politicos keen to be part of vaccine journey

Radheshyam Jadhav Pune | Updated on November 25, 2020 Published on November 25, 2020

Men ride on a motorbike past a supply truck of India's Serum Institute, the world's largest maker of vaccines, which is working on a vaccine against the coronavirus disease in Pune.   -  REUTERS

State BJP leaders are targeting the Thackeray govt over ‘mishandling’ of the Covid-19 situation

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is in constant communication with Serum Institute while NCP President Sharad Pawar had recently visited the place. Now, with reports of PM Narendra Modi planning a visit to Serum Institute, more political leaders are likely to visit the Pune-based institute which is testing and manufacturing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine candidate. Not only national, but local politicians also have shown keen interest in the developments at Serum Institute to ensure that they are part of the vaccine journey.

The vaccine manufacturer is expecting the results of the clinical trials of the Covid-19 vaccine candidate Covishield by January.

Also read: AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccine candidate shows 70-90% efficacy

Pune district administration has not confirmed PM Modi’s visit but officials said that they have started preparations and are awaiting official communication. The PM’s visit comes at a time when the State BJP leaders have been accusing Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray of failing to handle the Covid-19 situation properly. Senior State BJP leaders might accompany Modi during his visit to Serum Institute. Senior BJP leader Raosaheb Danve has declared that the Uddhav Thackeray government will collapse and BJP will bounce back to power in the next couple of months. Not surprisingly, State BJP leaders are targeting the Thackeray government over ‘mishandling’ of the Covid-19 situation. The Centre is also keen on a ‘familiarisation visit’ to Serum Institute where foreign ambassadors and high commissioners will take a review of developments.

Also read: Modi seeks States’ cooperation for smooth delivery of Covid-19 vaccine

As the central government is keen on connecting with Serum Institute, Uddhav Thackeray, during a video conference with PM Modi, said that he was in constant communication with Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla and has formed a task force to manage vaccine distribution. Without naming the BJP, Thackeray asked PM Modi to ask political parties not to politicise the Covid-19 crisis. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) President Sharad Pawar recently visited the institute. The 79-year-old leader received a dose of the BCG vaccine to increase immunity.

Political observers say that politicos are certain to get into a tug-of-war to share the limelight with the Covid-19 vaccine.

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Published on November 25, 2020
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