Covid-19 vaccination drive: Adar Poonawalla, chief executive officer of vaccine-maker Serum Institute of India (SII), said on Monday that his firm was ready with a stockpile of about ’40-50 million doses’ of Covid-19 vaccine Covishield. And when asked how much of the readied stockpile will India get, he told ANI that “India has such a large population that we will probably end up giving the majority of those 50 million doses to India first.”
Poonawalla was also quoted saying that after Serum International receives regulatory approvals “in a few days”, it will be down to the government to decide how much they can take and how fast.
As far as the production targets are concerned, Adar Poonawalla said SII will be producing around 300 million doses of Covishield by July 2021.
Regarding the availability, or the lack of it, of the Covishield Covid-19 vaccine, he stated that the first six months of 2021 will see a shortage globally. “Nobody can help that. But we will see easing off by August-September 2021 as other vaccine manufactures also being able to supply,” he further added.
Talking about the long-term supply of the Coronavirus vaccine, Poonawalla averred that as India is a part of ‘COVAX’, SII will keep giving 50% of everything they make to India and to COVAX at the same time.
In the meanwhile, a two-day dry run to check the preparedness of health authorities for a future nationwide COVID-19 vaccination programme began on Monday in states of Andhra Pradesh, Punjab and Gujarat. In Gujarat, PTI reported that a dry run of Coronavirus vaccination drive was carried out in Rajkot district, Rajkot city, Gandhinagar district and Gandhinagar city. Whereas, in Andhra Pradesh the Covid-19 vaccination trial was conducted by the state government at five locations in Krishna district. In Punjab, districts of Ludhiana and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr) were selected for the Coronavirus vaccination dry run.