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Once successful, Covid-19 vaccine doses will be distributed by govt’: Serum Institute

July 27, 2020 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm
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The clarification came a day after CEO Adar Poonawalla tweeted saying the company would “keep more than enough” doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for the Parsis, the community he belongs to.

Serum Institute of India (SII) on Monday said that the distribution of Covid-19 vaccine vials in India will be through a government network rather than private entities. The firm, known to be the largest vaccine manufacturer by volume across the world, said everyone will get the dose.

The clarification came a day after CEO Adar Poonawalla tweeted saying the company would “keep more than enough” doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for the Parsis, the community he belongs to.

“It was just a casual and friendly conversation between two Parsi’s. Once the vaccine is made, everyone will be getting it. It is very early to talk about this,” the SII said in a written statement. SII has been chosen by the Oxford and its partner AstraZeneca to manufacture the vaccine once it gets ready.

On the distribution part, SII said people will not have to purchase it in the market since the government will be distributing it. “On distribution – once the vaccine trials are done and successful, it will be procured and distributed by the government so that people don’t have to buy it directly,” said the Pune-based firm.

Earlier on Sunday, Poonawalla was responding to a tweet from entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala in which the latter had proposed to have a “special quota” for Parsis, albeit on a “lighter note”.

“Yes, @RonnieScrewvala, we will keep more than enough for the community. Our production capacity of just one day will be enough to cover every Parsi on the planet… given the size of our community!,” Poonawalla tweeted.

In his tweet, Srewvala had said, “On a lighter note, Since Parsi’s are to be an extinct race (Though average age of Parsi’s show otherwise) there is a lobby that as the vaccine does come in there will be a special quota under saving from extinction race..& why not if a Parsi is at the forefront of it.”

On SII’s plan to start clinical trials in India for the vaccine for which it has partnered with AstraZeneca, the firm said, “On trials – we are hoping to start the Phase 3 clinical trials in August post regulatory approvals.”

SII has already made an application seeking permission from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for conducting phase II/III human clinical trials in India. The company plans toconduct trials in Pune and Mumbai which have seen high prevalence of Covid-19 infections that will help SII test the efficacy of the vaccine.

The SII in an earlier statement had said that by end of August, between 4,000 to 5,000 people in Pune and Mumbai will be injected with the vaccine as part of trials that are scheduled to last over two months.

The steps by SII on seeking application from the DCGA came after Oxford University reported satisfactory progress from the vaccines test results last week.


July 27, 2020
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