Centre might buy 300-400 mn Covishield vaccine doses by 2021: Poonawalla
Serum Institute of India (SII) chief executive officer (CEO) Adar Poonawalla said on Saturday his company is in the process of applying for emergency use authorisation of Covishield in the next two weeks, adding the central government might purchase 300-400 million doses by July next year.
“As of now, we don’t have anything in writing with the govt of India on how many doses they will purchase but the indication is that it would be 300-400 million doses by July, 2021,” Poonawalla said in an interview to news agency ANI.
Pune-based Serum Institute, which is the world’s largest vaccine maker, has signed an agreement to manufacture the vaccine Covishield developed by Oxford University in collaboration with British-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca. They said on Monday said that their coronavirus disease vaccine was up to 90 per cent effective in late-stage clinical trials.
Talking about the distribution of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, Poonawalla reiterated that India and Covax countries would be on SII’s priority while the UK and European markets would be looked after by AstraZeneca and Oxford.
“Vaccine will be distributed initially in India, then we will look at the COVAX countries which are mainly in Africa. The UK & European markets are being taken care of by AstraZeneca & Oxford. Our priority is India & COVAX countries,” he said.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Serum Institute of India to see Covid-19 vaccine production and proposed distribution plan. It was a part of the Prime Minister’s visit to two other cities where vaccines are being developed or their trials are being held.
Poonawalla during the interview with ANI highlighted that PM Modi was extremely knowledgeable on vaccines and vaccine production adding there was very little to explain to him.