Pune, May 18: Amid the shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, Serum Institute of India's CEO Adar Poonawalla on Tuesday clarified that the drug manufacturing company had not exported vaccines at the cost of people living in India. Poonawalla, in a statement, said that his company would remain committed to doing everything in support of the vaccination drive in the country.
The SII CEO said that as one of the most populous countries in the world, the vaccination drive of India could not be completed in two-three months. Poonawalla added that vaccine consignments were sent abroad as per the commitment made by the Central government during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla Says ‘Will Return to India From London in a Few Days’.
Statement by Adar Poonawalla:
Poonawalla also mentioned that SII had already supplied more than 200 million doses though it received Emergency Use Approval two months after the US pharma companies. He expressed hope to start delivering COVAX by the end of the year. Adar Poonawalla Says 'COVID-19 Vaccine Covishield’s Production in Full Swing in Pune, Will Review Operations Upon My Return to India'.
The SII CEO stated that the pandemic is not limited by geographical and political boundaries, and people will not be safe till everyone globally manages to defeat the virus. Notably, SII is manufacturing Oxford University- Astrazenca's Covishield vaccine. Covishield, along with COVAXIN, got approval for emergency use in India in January this year.
On Monday, World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that once the devastating COVID-19 outbreak in India recedes, the Serum Institute of India would need to "get back on track and catch up" on its delivery commitments to COVAX. The WHO chief added that Pfizer has committed to providing 40 million doses of vaccines with COVAX this year, but the majority of these would be in the second half of 2021.
Last month, Poonawalla was given Y security by the Indian government. He had told The Times in an interview about receiving aggressive calls from some of the most powerful people in India, demanding supplies of Covishield. The 40-year-old entrepreneur left for London along with his wife and children earlier this month.