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Alarm bells ring over safety of Covishield manufacturing unit amid fire incident

PUNE The building inside Serum Institute of India’s (SII’s) Manjri plant where the fire broke out during afternoon hours on Thursday may have been an alarm for the vaccine manufacturer even as the facility where Covishield vaccine is being manufactured and stored is one-kilometre away through aerial distance though, by road, it is estimated to be two kilometres away
By Abhay Khairnar
PUBLISHED ON JAN 21, 2021 10:40 PM IST

PUNE The building inside Serum Institute of India’s (SII’s) Manjri plant where the fire broke out during afternoon hours on Thursday may have been an alarm for the vaccine manufacturer even as the facility where Covishield vaccine is being manufactured and stored is one-kilometre away through aerial distance though, by road, it is estimated to be two kilometres away.

Rajesh Deshmukh, Pune district collector, who visited SII, said, “The fire broke out at a new under-construction building which is built under the special economic zone (SEZ). The Covishield facility is completely safe and nothing to worry about.”

The building was being readied for SII’s rotavirus and BCG vaccines.

Chetan Tupe, MLA, Hadapsar, who is representing the area and was among first to reach the spot, said, “The fire broke out at Manjari site the Covishield plant is located at Hadapsar facility.”

The company had connected both the campuses by internal road and in between, there are some residential areas of private people.

The two facilities – Hadapsar and Manjri- are being used by world’s largest manufacturer to produce 1.5 billion doses of various vaccines including Covishield, Polio, Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hib, BCG, r-Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps and Rubella.

According to SII website, “ It is estimated that about 65 per cent of the children in the world receive at least one vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute. The vaccines manufactured by SII are accredited by the World Health Organisation (WHO), Geneva and are being used in around 170 countries across the globe in their national immunization programmes, saving millions of lives throughout the world.”

The Manjri facility is part of the first biotech park in the state as part of Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

The Manjri area where the fire broke up was falling in the Grampanchyat area. Last month Maharashtra government gave nod to merge 23 surrounding villages in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).

“As per the state government’s decision, the Serum Institute would become part of the PMC limit,” said Tupe.

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