'Hope to launch Covavax for adults in October, in early 2022 for kids': Adar Poonwalla
Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla said on Friday he is "hopeful" that American pharmaceutical firm Novavax's vaccine candidate against the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), Covavax, will be launched in India for both adults and children in October and early 2022, respectively.
"I'm hopeful that for adults, Covavax, will be launched in October, depending upon approvals from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI). For kids, the Covavax vaccine will be launched in the first quarter of the next year, most likely in January-February," Poonawalla told news agency PTI, after meeting Union home minister Amit Shah in Parliament for 30 minutes.
Poonawalla's remarks, however, are in contradiction to earlier reports that claimed Covavax will be introduced in the country in September. Earlier, in a statement, Novavax had said the jab is 100% effective against moderate and severe Covid-19, with an overall efficacy of 90.4%.
Currently, every citizen aged 18 and above is eligible to be vaccinated against Covid-19. While a vaccine is yet to be approved for kids, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on July 27 that vaccination drive for children is likely to begin in August.
The Serum India CEO further said Covavax will be a two-dose vaccine and its price will be decided at the time of its launch. He also thanked prime minister Narendra Modi for his support. "The government is helping us and we are facing no financial crunch. We are thankful to PM Modi for all the cooperation and support," Poonawalla, who also met Mandaviya, said.
SII, which is the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines, is prominently involved in India's fight against the coronavirus pandemic. It is already manufacturing the Oxford University-AstraZeneca shot as Covishield locally, and will also manufacture Russia's Sputnik V vaccine, according to an agreement with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF).