‘Historic moment’: Adar Poonawalla as SII dispatches Covid-19 vaccine across India
With over 5.6 million doses of the Serum Institute of India’s coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccine ‘Covishield’ being transported across several cities, SII’s chief executive officer (CEO) and owner Adar Poonawalla on Tuesday called the dispatch as a historical moment and added that the manufacturer's aim was to make the vaccine available for everyone in India.
Speaking to news agency ANI, Poonawalla said, “This is a historical moment that vaccine is being dispatched from our factory. Our main challenge is to bring it to everyone in the country. It is our challenge for 2021, let’s see how it happens.”
Reiterating on the point of providing the first 100 million doses of Covishield at a price of ₹200 to the government, Poonawalla said that this was being done to support the healthcare workers, common man, poor and the vulnerable adding that no profit would be made.
“To Govt of India, we’ll still maintain a very reasonable price but it will be a little bit more than ₹200 which is our cost price. So we decided not to make any profit, we wanted to support the nation & Govt of India for the first 100 million doses.” the SII CEO told ANI. Although he pointed out that after the first 100 million doses, Covishield would be sold at a price of ₹1,000 in private markets.
Poonawalla said that the Serum Institute would be making 70-80 million doses of the vaccine per month and that it was being planned on how many doses will be provided to India and foreign nations. SII was trying to supply Covishield to places such as Africa and South America, he said.
“We make 70-80 million doses every month. Planning is underway to see how many will be given to India and foreign countries. Health Ministry has made logistics plans. We also have partnership with pvt players for trucks, vans and cold storage,” Poonawalla added.
Meanwhile, the transportation of SII’s coronavirus vaccine started from Pune to 13 cities across the country, Union aviation minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Tuesday. Vaccines were being transported to Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Guwahati, Shillong, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Vijayawada, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Bengaluru, Lucknow and Chandigarh, Puri had tweeted.
Three temperature-controlled trucks were seen moving out of the Serum Institute premises in the early hours of Tuesday. The first consignment of Covishield doses arrived in the national capital at 10 am after which the doses were seen delivered to other states such as Telangana, Gujarat, Karnataka etc.
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