Vaccine for 2-3-year-olds may get approval by February: Adar Poonawalla

Adar Poonawala

New Delhi: Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Pune-based Serum Institute of India, said on Thursday that his company has spent Rs 10,000 crore for the production and distribution of the Covishield vaccine. Poonawalla also said that handling public scrutiny and accountability was one of the biggest challenges for him. Poonawalla also said that his company is preparing another Covid-19 vaccine, Covovax, which was selected for children for various reasons and may get approval by February next year.

In an exclusive interview with TV-channel, Poonawalla said, “We bet on the partnership with AstraZeneca. We didn’t know exactly which vaccine would work. We have seen massive issues with other manufacturers. We’ve had a great job with AstraZeneca-Oxford. We are in talks with some companies for fill and finish. Fill-finish can be done with multiple partners. Covovax can be filled at Biocon or at our facility.”

Waiting for the order of the central government
Poonawalla said that his firm is waiting for orders from the central government to export the Covid vaccine worldwide. Poonawalla said, “The government has ordered 20 crore doses of Covishield for every month till December. By the end of October, we may resume some exports. We are currently waiting for the instructions of the Central Government to look at the stocks.
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Serum Institute of India

On the availability of Covovax and the vaccine, Poonawalla said, “We have submitted data for Kovovax to WHO. We have chosen Covovax as a vaccine for children for several reasons for a number of reasons. Now there is nothing to worry about in terms of vaccine stock. We have one-month stock available now. By February, we should get the approval of Kovovax for children below 2-3 years of age. Execution from capex to retail was the hardest part. We have produced and distributed over 10,000 crore doses of Covishield. We had to return about $200 million to countries that we couldn’t supply to because of export restrictions, leading to some funds running out of record.”

Recently, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya had said that India will start exporting the Covid-19 vaccine from next month under the Vaccine Friendship program. But the first priority of the government is to vaccinate its citizens.