India First Priority For Covid-19 Vaccine Delivery; Will Have 100 Million Doses By January: Serum Institute

SII chief, Adar Poonawalla has said that India will be the first focus of the Serum Institute for distributing the AstraZeneca Covid vaccine, which showed up to 90% efficacy in late-stage clinical trials.

As AstraZeneca announced that its Covid vaccine could be around 90% effective, giving the world’s fight against the pandemic a new weapon, its Indian partner Serum Institute said it will first focus on supplying the vaccine to Indians before distributing it to other countries.

Speaking to the media, Serum Institute of India chief Adar Poonawalla said, ”They will first focus on supplying AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid-19 vaccine to Indians before distributing it to other countries. It’s very important that we take care of our country first.”

 

His comments came referencing the global COVAX facility, which has been set up to provide Covid-19 vaccines to poorer countries.

Earlier, Poonawalla had indicated that the limited use of the vaccine would be available in India anytime between December end and early January.

The vaccine will have a maximum retail price of Rs 1,000 for the private market, but that governments signing large supply deals would likely buy it at lower prices, Poonawalla said.

He added that the company is having discussions with the Indian government about the purchase agreement for the vaccine.

At a virtual conference on “COVID-19 vaccine — a global perspective”, organized by the JSS Research Foundation, SII’s Executive Director, Suresh Jadhav said the trials of Covishield were in the final stages in India. While the Phase 3 trials had been completed in some parts of the world, in India, they were in the final stages with the injections scheduled for completion by November-end.

The SII’s Executive Director, Suresh Jadhav, was quoted by The Hindu as saying, “institute will produce 50 million to 60 million doses of the vaccine candidate developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University every month from January.

“But, till January, we will also have about 80 to 100 million doses in stock for supply if we get permission for emergency use by the government,” Dr. Jadhav added.

The serum is hoping the data released earlier on Monday, along with preliminary data from the ongoing trial of the vaccine in India, will allow it to seek emergency use authorization for the vaccine by year-end, before gaining approval for a full rollout by February or March next year, said Poonawalla.

Poonawalla also said that although Serum has the right to strike direct bilateral deals with more than five dozen nations, on the basis of its licensing deal with AstraZeneca, the company may include the government in some of these discussions.

Poonawalla said the company will be able to produce 400 million doses of AstraZeneca`s vaccine by July 2021 and scale up further from there.

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