Serum Institute of India chief executive Adar Poonawalla today said he has discussed with Prime Minister Narendra Modi the road ahead to vaccinate India against COVID-19 when the vaccine is out.
PM Modi visited the vaccine-maker in Pune today in the last leg of his three-city visit to check how India’s firms are working on vaccines for coronavirus infection.
“We discussed vaccine implementation plan with PM Modi during his visit,” Mr Poonawalla told reporters in an online briefing on Covishield.
“We are amazed with what he (PM Modi) already knew. He was impressed with the new facility that we have built. The new facility can deal with more than one billion doses,” the Serum Institute CEO said.
“What we discussed was the implementation plan. After we get emergency use approval, we will make submissions for final rollout. After that the Health Ministry will roll out the doses in the first and second quarter… But that is after we have made the submissions and everything is approved,” Mr Poonawalla said.
PM Modi today went to Ahmedabad and Hyderabad also to review coronavirus vaccine development work there. He began by visiting pharma major Zydus Cadila’s manufacturing facility near Ahmedabad. Then he proceeded to Bharat Biotech’s facility in Hyderabad before reaching Pune.
Earlier this week, Serum Institute of India said it will sell the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine to the government for Rs 250 and to pharmacies for Rs 1,000 per dose.
A minimum of 100 million doses will be available by January and hundreds of million could be ready by the end of February, Mr Poonawalla had told NDTV.
He had said they are “hoping to get the vaccine out there as quick as possible.” “It’ll be in the hands of regulators in a couple of weeks,” Mr Poonawalla had said. His company has an agreement with the government to mass-manufacture doses of the Covid vaccine.