Will Centre have Rs 80,000 cr to buy, distribute COVID-19 vaccine across India, asks Serum Institute of India's CEO Adar Poonawalla

"I ask this question because we need to plan and guide, vaccine manufacturers both in India and overseas to service the needs of our country in terms of procurement and distribution," said Adar Poonawalla.

Will Centre have Rs 80,000 cr to buy, distribute COVID-19 vaccine across India, asks Serum Institute of India's CEO Adar Poonawalla
File Photo (Twitter/@adarpoonawalla)

Pune: The Chief Executive Officer of Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) Adar Poonawalla, on Saturday (September 26, 2020) asked the Centre government whether they have Rs 80,000 crores available over the next one year for the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines across India.

The 39-year-old who reportedly runs the world's largest vaccine manufacturer company and is also producing the coronavirus vaccine developed by the Oxford University, took to Twitter and said, "Quick question; will the government of India have 80,000 crores available, over the next one year? Because that's what Ministry of Health needs, to buy and distribute the vaccine to everyone in India. This is the next concerning the challenge we need to tackle."

Poonawalla also tagged the official Twitter accounts of the Union Health Ministry and the Prime Minister's Office.

In his next tweet, he wrote, "I ask this question because we need to plan and guide, vaccine manufacturers both in India and overseas to service the needs of our country in terms of procurement and distribution."

Recently in an interview, he had expressed about the availability of the virus and said, "Realistically, for the whole world, for everyone on this planet, or at least 90% to get it, it’s going to be at least 2024."

Earlier on September 16, the SII got the nod from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to restart its phase two and three clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine.

According to ANI news agency, the SII had sought permission from the DGCI to restart the re-enrollment procedure for COVID-19 vaccine which is being developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University following the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) recommendations.

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On September 8, AstraZeneca had announced that it “voluntarily paused” the phase 3 clinical human trials of its vaccine candidate ‘Covishield’ after one of the volunteers got ill. 

But four days later, the AstraZeneca Oxford coronavirus vaccine trials were resumed on September 12 after it was said that "it's safe to do so"

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his address at the 75th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session expressed, "As the largest vaccine producing country of the world, I want to give one more assurance to the global community today, India’s vaccine production and delivery capacity will be used to help all humanity in fighting this crisis." 

PM Modi stated, "We are moving ahead with phase 3 clinical trials in India and in our neighbourhood. India will also help all the countries in enhancing their cold chain and storage capacities for the delivery of vaccines."

Earlier in the day, the Ministry of Health's data showed that the coronavirus cases across India have crossed the 59-lakh mark with more than 85,000 cases reported in the last 24 hours. The total coronavirus cases in the country stand at 59,03,933 that include 9,60,969 active cases, 48,49,585 recoveries and 93,979 COVID-19 related fatalities.