New Delhi: Serum Institute of India on Monday (December 28) said that the company has already stockpiled 40-50 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer, Serum Institute of India, said, "India is a part of 'COVAX'. We will keep giving 50% of everything we make to India and to COVAX at the same time," During a media interaction via video conference in Pune.
"India has such a large population that we will probably end up giving the majority of those 50 million doses to India first," said Adar Poonawalla, adding "We have 40-50 million doses of Covishield stockpiled. Once we get regulatory approvals in a few days, it'll be down to the Govt to decide how much they can take and how fast."
Poonawalla said, "We will be producing around 300 million doses by July 2021," adding "The first six months of 2021 will see a shortage globally. Nobody can help that. But we will see easing off by August-September 2021 as other vaccine manufacturers also being able to supply."
Asked whether there is any concern regarding the COVID-19 vaccine getting approval, he said, "Regulators are evaluating the data...Lot of people keep raising issues. There are no concerns at all. 92 to 95 per cent vaccine efficiency is there."
"Emergency use of the vaccine may come at the end of December or maybe in January in the UK and we are hoping the same in India as well. We should wait for some good news," Poonawalla added.
The company, which has launched the country's first indigenously developed 'pneumococcal vaccine' PNEUMOSIL- for children, said the scaling up of the COVID-19 vaccine would also depend on the overall demand from the government.
In order to introduce an urgently needed vaccine against COVID-19 in India, Serum Institute of India (SII), the world's largest vaccine manufacturer, has entered into a 'collaboration with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca' to manufacture Covishield.
The Pune-based company has applied to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) seeking emergency use authorisation for the COVID-19 vaccine in the country.
Poonawalla said noted that DCGI is examining the vaccine data submitted by various companies in detail and the approvals are expected to come in the next few days.
He said India would get the majority of vaccines produced next year with some part of the production also going to other markets as part of COVAX --a global initiative to ensure rapid and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries, regardless of income level.
Union Minister Harsh Vardhan, who formally launched the company's pneumococcal vaccine, said everybody in the country is looking forward to the regulatory approvals for the COVID-19 vaccine in the next few days.
SII would supply the vaccine to both the government and the private sector players with different cost structures.
(With Agency Inputs)