People need not pay for COVID-19 vaccines developed in Serum Institute of India: CEO
New Delhi: Up to 50% of the COVID-19 vaccines manufactured in his firm will be supplied to India, said Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute of India, in an interview with a leading Indian daily. The rest will then be supplied to different countries across the globe, he added.
Additionally, the vaccine for COVID-19 will mostly be purchased by governments, and people will avail of them free of cost via immunisation programmes.
This comes a day after Lancet published that the first human trial data of the COVID-19 vaccine is being developed by Oxford University. Serum Institute India (SII) is one of the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturers.
The CEO in the interview said that after the successful completion of the trials, SII will also be manufacturing the vaccine with Oxford University as its partner. He added that the firm is seeking regulatory clearances to conduct the Phase 3 trials in India with the Oxford University vaccine. This is done so that the vaccine can be produced on a large scale if the results are favourable.
Additionally, if the trials and the results come out as planned, Poonawalla said that SII would be able to produce a few million dosages of the vaccine by the months of November and December. By the first quarter of 2021, they will be able to produce 300-400 million dosages.
With regards to the distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, he said that it will be done in the most ethical way possible. This means that the elderly and the immune-compromised population will get the vaccine first along with the frontline healthcare workers. As for the pricing, Poonawalla commented that it will be a bit early to state on this matter.
However, he believed that an individual need not pay any amount to avail of the drug as most of the vaccines will be bought by the government and then distributed for free via the immunisation programmes. Today, a COVID-19 test alone costs Rs 2,500 and potential COVID-19 drugs such as Remdesiver costs tens and thousands of rupees,