Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of Serum Institute of India, said on Thursday that Oxford vaccine for COVID-19 should be available for use in India for priority population, i.e. the elderly and healthcare workers by February 2021. It will be made available for the general public by April next year. He also said that it will be priced at a maximum of Rs 1,000 for two necessary doses. However, it will depend upon the final trial results.
‘Covishield’ to vaccinate entire Indian population by 2024?
Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, dubbed as ‘Covishield’ in the country, has been making headlines as a vaccine that would be effective and meet all requirements in the fight against COVID-19. It is being tested by the Serum Institute of India.
Speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit (HTLS), 2020, Poonawalla said “It will probably take two or three years for every Indian to get inoculated, not just because of the supply constraints but because you need the budget, the vaccine, logistics, infrastructure and then, people should be willing to take the vaccine. So these are the factors that lead up to being able to vaccinate 80-90 per cent of the population.”
Poonawalla also added that though the government of India would be getting it for USD 3-4 and the public will avail the vaccine at USD 5-6 (₹ 1,000) per dose, it would be because GOI would be buying on a large scale. Moreover, the pricing is “far cheaper and more affordable” than other vaccines available in the pharmaceutical market today.
Providing insight into the effectiveness of the vaccine, Poonawalla said, “It has induced a good T-cell response, which is an indicator for your long-term immunity and antibody response.” However, only with time would the efficiency of the vaccine come to light, he added. No side effects or reactions have been reported so far as the testing is being performed.
Talking more about the ‘Covishield’ vaccine, the CEO of SII said that the vaccine is stored at a temperature of two to eight degrees Celsius. SII will manufacture around 10 crore doses per month from February as India would be needing over 400 million doses by July.
No agreements with other countries have been made so far on part of SII. “We want to handle India as a priority first and manage Africa at the same time and then help out other countries,” he said.
Shikha Chandra is an intern with SheThePeople.TV