Written by 8:25 AM News

Won’t be enough Covid-19 vaccines till 2024: Serum Institute’s Adar Poonawalla

Serum Institute of India’s CEO Adar Poonawalla has warned there won’t be enough Covid-19 vaccines available in the world till 2024 at the earliest, according to a media report on Monday.

“It’s going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet,” said Poonawalla to Financial Times.

The Pune-based pharma giant has partnered with five international pharmaceutical firms, including AstraZeneca and Novavax, to develop a Covid-19 vaccine and committed to producing one billion doses, of which it has pledged half to India. Moreover, SII may also partner with Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute to manufacture the Sputnik vaccine.

The CEO of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer has estimated that the world will need around 15 billion doses of the Covid-19 shot if it is a two-dose vaccine. “It’s going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet,” Poonawalla told the Financial Times.

He assured the vaccine will be first made available to those who need it the most, irrespective of their paying capacity.

“Issues like vaccine security, cost, equity, cold-chain requirements, production timelines etc., are also been discussed intensely,” he stated.

The Pune-based pharma firm has partnered with five international pharmaceutical firms, including AstraZeneca and Novavax, to develop a Covid-19 vaccine and committed to producing one billion doses, of which it has pledged half to India. On SII’s word to produce a billion doses, he said that the commitment far exceeded the capacity of other vaccine producers. “I know the world wants to be optimistic on it… [but] I have not heard of anyone coming even close to that [level] right now,” he told the business daily in a video call from London.

On the availability of the vaccine and its authorization, Vardhan informed that Centre is considering emergency authorization of COVID-19 vaccination especially in the case of senior citizens and people working in high-risk settings. “This shall be done after a consensus has been reached”, he said, according to an official statement.

To allay fears regarding the safety aspect of the vaccines, he said, “I shall be the first to offer myself for receiving COVID vaccine, if people have a trust deficit.”

Last week, human trials of the Oxford vaccine candidate by AstraZeneca were halted after a volunteer fell sick in the UK following which the Serum Institute of India also paused the trials as it was issued a show-cause notice by the Drug Controller of India. The trials, however, have resumed in Britain. After the human trials of the Oxford vaccine resumed in the UK late last week, Poonawala had tweeted, “As I’d mentioned earlier, we should not jump to conclusions until the trials are fully concluded. The recent chain of events are a clear example why we should not bias the process and should respect the process till the end.”

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