Mumbai: Vaccine maker Serum Institute of India’s CEO Adar Poonawalla on Thursday 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 ₹1,000 for two necessary doses for the public, depending on the final trial results and regulatory approvals.
The CEO of a Pune-based vaccine maker said that every Indian will get vaccinated by 2024. “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. It will be 2024 for everybody, if willing to take a two-dose vaccine, to be vaccinated,” Poonawalla said.
He also said that the SII will apply for an emergency authorisation in India as soon as the UK authorities and the European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA) approve it for emergency use there. “However, the vaccine will be for a limited use for frontline workers, healthcare workers, and elderly people,” he added.
Responding to a question on the safety aspect, he said there have been no major complaints, reactions, or adverse events, adding, “We would need to wait and see. The efficacy and immunogenicity results from the Indian trials will come out in about a month-and-a-half.”
“We want to vaccinate the elderly people and others who are the most vulnerable first. Once we have enough safety data to go in on children, we can recommend it for children too,” he said. Mr. Poonawalla said the Oxford vaccine was affordable, safe, and could be stored at a temperature of two to eight degrees Celsius, which was an ideal temperature for it to be stored in the cold storages of India. He said the SII planned to make about 10 crore doses a month from February.
Meanwhile, in the findings published in The Lancet on November 19, the University of Oxford has said that its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, has shown to produced strong immune responses in adults aged 56-69 and those over 70 years of age.
Probably by 2024, every Indian would get vaccinated, he said at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, 2020. “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.”
(with inputs from PTI)