Mon, 25 Jan 2021

Pune (Maharashtra) [India], January 12 (ANI): The Serum Institute of India (SII) makes 70 to 80 million doses every month and planning is underway for distribution to India and foreign countries, said Adar Poonawalla, CEO and Owner, SII.

"We make 70-80 million doses every month. Planning is underway to see how many will be given to India and foreign countries. Health Ministry has made logistics plans. We also have a partnership with private players for trucks, vans and cold storage."Poonawalla said many countries have been writing to India and the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) for vaccines to be supplied from Serum Institute to their countries.

"We are trying to keep everyone happy. We have to take care of our population and nation as well. We are trying to supply the vaccine to Africa, South America. So we are doing a little bit everywhere. So we will try to keep everyone happy," he said.

"We have given a special price of Rs 200 for the first 100 million doses only to the Government of India on their request because we want to support the common man, vulnerable, poor and healthcare workers. After that, we will be selling it at Rs 1,000 in private markets," he said.

The SII CEO informed that the government has not given its nod regarding selling the vaccine in the private market.

"In the private market, for those who want to purchase the vaccine, the price would be Rs 1,000. But we have not received permission for this...," he said.

The first consignment containing vials of the Covishield vaccine was dispatched from the Serum Institute of India in the early hours of Tuesday, ahead of the January 16 launch of the nationwide vaccination drive.

After the first consignment of "Covishield" was dispatched from the Pune factory, Poonawalla termed it a historic moment.

"This is a historic moment that the vaccine is being dispatched from our factory. Our main challenge is to make it available to everyone in the country. It is our challenge for 2021, let us see how it happens," Poonawalla told ANI.

Amid tight security, three trucks carrying the consignment of the vaccine left for Pune airport to be flown to 13 locations across the country today.

The locations included Delhi, Karnal, Ahmedabad, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Bhubhaneshwar, Kolkata and Guwahati.

Pune-based logistic firm Kool-ex Cold Chain was tasked with ferrying the vaccine stocks via tech-enabled trucks laced with temperature control feature ranging from -25 degrees to 25 degrees Celsius.

The first phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive in the country is starting from January 16. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had earlier said: "We aim to vaccinate 30 crore people in the next few months."Around 3 crore healthcare workers and frontline workers will be vaccinated in the first phase of vaccination, he added. In the second phase, those above 50 years and those under 50 years with co-morbid conditions will be vaccinated, he further said. (ANI)

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