Vaccine maker Serum Institute of India’s CEO Adar Poonawalla on November 19 said the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine should be available for healthcare workers and elderly people by around February 2021 and by April for the general public, and will be priced at a maximum of Rs 1,000 for two necessary doses for the public, depending on the final trial results and regulatory approvals. “It will be 2024 for everybody, if willing to take a two-dose vaccine, to be vaccinated,” 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 percent of the population,” he said.
“The government of India will be getting it at a far cheaper price at around $3-4, because it will be buying in a large volume and get access to the price that is similar to what COVAX has got. We are still pricing it far cheaper and more affordable than other vaccines we have in the market today,” He said.
He said the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine is so far proving to work very well even in elderly people, which was a concern earlier.
Poonawalla also said that as soon as the UK authorities and the European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA) approve it for emergency use, it will apply to the drug controller for emergency use authorisation in India.
Poonawalla said the Oxford vaccine is affordable, safe and stored at a temperature of two to eight degrees Celsius, which is an ideal temperature for it to be stored in the cold storages of India. He said the SII plans to make about 10 crore doses per month from February.
Poonawala said the SII is not entering into any agreement with other countries at this moment as India is its priority. “We have not signed and committed anything else beyond Bangladesh at the moment. We really do not want to partner right now with many countries because we will not have enough stocks to deliver,” he said.