Making up to 8 cr Covid-19 vaccine doses every month; trying to keep all countries happy: Serum CEO2 min read . Updated: 12 Jan 2021, 03:51 PM IST
- Serum CEO Adar Poonwalla termed it a historic moment and said the main challenge is to make the vaccine available to everyone in the country
- The SII CEO informed that the government has not given its nod regarding selling the vaccine in the private market
As the world's largest vaccine manufacturing company, Serum Institute began to dispatch its locally produced Oxford Covid-19 vaccine 'Covishield' across the country in the wee hours of Tuesday, CEO Adar Poonwalla termed it a historic moment and said the main challenge is to make the vaccine available to everyone in the country.
"This is a historical moment that vaccine is being dispatched from our factory. Our main challenge is to make it available to everyone in the country. It is our challenge for 2021, let us see how it happens," Poonawalla told ANI in an interview.
"We have given a special price of ₹200 for the first 100 million doses only to the Government of India on their request because we want to support common man, vulnerable, poor and healthcare workers. After that, we will be selling it at ₹1,000 in private markets," he said.
"We make 70-80 million doses every month. Planning is underway to see how many will be given to India and foreign countries. Health Ministry has made logistics plans. We also have a partnership with private players for trucks, vans and cold storage," he informed.
The SII CEO informed that the government has not given its nod regarding selling the vaccine in the private market.
"In the private market, for those who want to purchase the vaccine, the price would be ₹1,000. But we have not received permission for this...," he said.
However, for the price of the vaccine in India, Poonwalla added, "To Indian government, we'll still maintain a very reasonable price but it will be a little bit more than ₹200 which is our cost price. So we decided not to make any profit, we wanted to support the nation and the government for the first 100 million doses."
He also added that a lot of countries have been writing to India and the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for vaccines to be supplied from Serum Institute to their countries.
"We are trying to keep everyone happy. We have to take care of our population and nation as well. We are trying to supply vaccine to Africa, South America. So we are doing a little bit everywhere. So we will try to keep everyone happy," he said.
The first consignment containing vials of the Covishield vaccine was dispatched from the Serum Institute of India here in the early hours of Tuesday, four days ahead of the launch of the nationwide vaccination drive.
A SpiceJet aircraft carrying the vaccines landed at the Delhi airport around 10 am.
Amid tight security, three trucks carrying the very first consignment of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid vaccine left for Pune airport to be flown to 13 locations across the country today.
India has recently approved two COVID-19 vaccines -- Oxford's Covishield, manufactured by the Serum Institute of India (SII) in the country, and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin -- for restricted emergency use.
According to the COVID-19 Vaccine Operational Guidelines, the shots will be offered first to an estimated one crore healthcare workers and around two crore frontline workers, and then to people above 50 years of age, followed by those below 50 years of age with associated comorbidities, based on the evolving pandemic situation.
With inputs from ANI