Pune: Adar Poonawalla, CEO, Serum Institute of India has stated that the production of COVID-19 vaccine Covishield is in full swing in Pune and he will review the operations once he is back in the country. Poonawalla who is currently in the UK to meet his family members has said that he will return to India from London in a few days.
The 40-year-old entrepreneur also held a meeting with his partners and stakeholders in the UK. Poonawalla in a tweet said, “Had an excellent meeting with all our partners & stakeholders in the UK. Meanwhile, pleased to state that COVISHIELD's production is in full swing in Pune. I look forward to reviewing operations upon my return in a few days.”
Many states in the country have postponed the rollout of the third phase of vaccination for those between 18 to 44 years as they have run out of vaccines, worsening a second wave of the outbreak.
Poonawalla made the announcement soon after he spoke out about the pressures he was under over the production of COVID-19 vaccines to meet the ever-increasing demand in the country as India battles through a havoc second wave of the novel coronavirus.
India started the third phase of its COVID-19 vaccination drive for those in the age group of 18-44 years on Saturday though the vaccination process failed to take off in some states amid acute shortage of vaccines. While Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Jammu, and Kashmir among other states and union territories started the vaccination drive, Karnataka and Odisha made only a symbolic start to it.
Last week, SII declared a cut in the price of the vaccine it plans to sell to states to Rs 300 per dose from the earlier Rs 400. The price cut came after extensive criticism of its pricing policy as it had sold the initial doses of Covishield to the central government at Rs 150 per dose.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday also decided to provide Poonawalla with Y category security around the country by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
Meanwhile, India has reported more than 3 lakh COVID-19 cases for the last nine days. On Saturday, it set another global record by reporting more than 4 lakh new cases. The country now has 1,91,64,969 total cases since the pandemic first broke out in January last year.