Mr Poonawalla said the SII was keen to ensure equitable distribution and that the challenge for 2021 was “to bring the vaccine to everyone in the country”.
Serum Institute CEO Adar Poonawalla said Tuesday that the world is looking to India in the race to manufacture the hundreds of millions of vaccine doses needed to defeat the coronavirus. The comments by Mr Poonawalla came hours after three trucks rolled out with 56.5 lakh doses of Covishield – the nation’s first Covid vaccine.
Calling the moment “historic”, Mr Poonawalla said many countries had written to the Serum Institute and the Prime Minister’s Office, looking to purchase vaccines from India for their citizens.
“We have contracts with many countries – Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Bangladesh and those in Africa. Countries are looking to India because we have large production facilities and smaller companies around the world cannot as yet produce the required number of doses,” the Serum CEO was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
India has not placed restrictions on exports so far. However, despite pressure from Brazil which has sought two million doses of Covishield, India is yet to announce clearance.
Indicating that the first priority was to the Indian government, which has ordered 11 million Covishield doses, Mr Poonawalla said the SII was keen to ensure equitable distribution and that the challenge for 2021 was “to bring the vaccine to everyone in the country”.
“We want to support the common man… the vulnerable, the poor and the healthcare workers (and so) we’ve given a special price of ₹ 200 for the first 100 million doses on request by the government. We decided initially we won’t make a profit. After that we will still maintain a very reasonable price… it will be a little more than ₹ 200, which is our cost price,” Mr Poonawalla said.
“After that, we’ll be selling it at ₹ 1000 per dose in the private market,” he further added.
SII’s current production capacity was around 70 to 80 million doses, Mr Poonawalla informed.
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