Will Reserve Enough Vaccine Doses for Parsis, Says Adar Poonawalla; At least 4,000 to be Injected in Pune & Mumbai During Trials

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"More than enough" doses of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca will be reserved for the Parsi community, Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer of the vaccine's local manufacturer Serum Institute of India (SII), has said.

Poonawalla, however, did not specify the quantity of the doses that will be kept for the community, which isgrappling with shrinking population.

Replying to producer Ronnie Screwvala on Twitter, Poonawalla on Sunday said, "Yes @RonnieScrewvala, we will keep more than enough for the community. Our production capacity of just one day will be enough to cover every Parsi on the planet…given the size of our community."

Srewvala in his tweet, wherein he had tagged Poonawalla, said, "On a lighter note, Since Parsi's are to be Extinct race (Though avg age of Parsi's show otherwise) there is a lobby that as the vaccine does come in there will be aspecial quotaunder saving from extinction race..& why not if a Parsi is at the forefront of it."

Poonawalla last week said the company aims to manufacture 300 million to 400 million doses by the year-end, following the success of initial and licensure trials.

He said as part of the agreement with AstraZeneca, SIIcan manufacture one billion doses for India and nearly 70 low and middle income countries.

There are no challenges in manufacturing of the vaccine doses and the company will be starting by making 60 to70 million doses per day, he said.

The high prevalence of COVID-19 infections in Mumbaiand Pune will help test the efficacy of the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca, SII said last week.

By end of August, between 4,000 to 5,000 people in Pune and Mumbai will be injected with the vaccine as part oftrials that are scheduled to last over two months, it said.

The Oxford University has reported satisfactoryprogress from the vaccines test results and is conducting bigger field tests in the UK.

In India, it has chosen SII as the manufacturing partner, which has to conduct field trials before getting thefinal nod to ensure they are safe and effective for Indians.