Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive of Serum Institute, on Sunday said that the Pune-based vaccine manufacturing firm has got drug regulator's clearance for 50 million doses of Covishield vaccine, which will be sold at Rs 1,000 to the public and at Rs 200 to the government. Stressing that Oxford University-AstraZeneca shots are "safe and effective" against coronavirus, Poonawalla added that export of the vaccine hasn't been allowed yet.
"We have bilaterals with Saudi Arabia and a handful of other countries but right now we've not been allowed to export the vaccine. We will ask the government to allow us to do it in some weeks so that we can sell it to 68 other countries. Our company will provide vaccines to depots from where states will pick it up," Poonawalla told News18, adding that Serum Institute can manufacture 5,000 doses in a minute.
Serum Institute of India had earlier said that it has produced around 50 million dosages of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine 'Covishield' and plans to scale it up to 100 million by March.
We have already manufactured 40-50 million dosages of the vaccine. The rollout of the vaccine is expected to be a bit slow in the initial phase due to logistics issue and is expected to pick up once things get sorted, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla had told reporters last month.
Wishing Indians a Happy New Year, the Pune-based manufacturer tweeted on Sunday: "All the risks @SerumInstIndia took with stockpiling the vaccine, have finally paid off. COVISHIELD, India's first COVID-19 vaccine is approved, safe, effective and ready to roll-out in the coming weeks."
Besides SII, Bharat Biotech and Pfizer have also applied to DCGI seeking emergency use authorisation for their Covid-19 vaccines. Eminent clinical scientist and vaccine expert Gagandeep Kang, however, raised concern over granting approval to Bharat Biotech shots as it is still in Phase 3 trials.
Serum Institute of India's Covishield was the first vaccine to be recommended for "restricted use" by the the government-appointed panel on Friday. Covaxin, the coronavirus vaccine from Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, was recommended a day later, on Saturday.