COVID-19 vaccination drive may start from Jan 2021, says Serum Institute’s Adar Poonawalla

Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla on Saturday said the COVID-19 vaccination drive may begin by January 2021 as his company is hoping to get emergency-use authorisation by December end.

According to a report by News18, while speaking at the Economic Times Global Business Summit, Poonawalla said life is likely to become normal by September-October 2021 as by then there will be enough vaccines for everyone.

"By this month-end, we might get an emergency licence, but the actual licence for wider use might come in at a later date. But we are confident that if the regulators give a nod, India's vaccination drive can start by January 2021," he said. Poonawalla added that once 20 percent of the Indian population received the coronavirus vaccine, there would be a resurgence of confidence and sentiments.

Meanwhile, Niti Aayog member V K Paul said the emergency use authorisation for a Covid-19 vaccine would be given by the country's drug regulator after analysing all aspects of safety and efficacy.

Addressing the 93rd annual convention of industry body FICCI, he said that management of the immunisation programme and election process in the country gives the government confidence that even the vaccine initiative could also be successfully imparted to the target groups.

"We have three applications today for the emergency use authorisation on sound principles. We have Pfizer, we have Bharat Biotech and we have Serum and they have not only met the deadline, they have overtaken the deadline," Paul said.

Terming the current period as an inflection point, he said that decisions regarding the vaccine would roll out in a matter of a few days. "Importantly, these decisions will be science-based, evidence-based, rules-based. Our regulator will make the right decision. Safety, immunogenicity, and efficacy will drive the decision," Paul noted.

Serum Institute of India (SII) on December 7 said it has applied to the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for emergency use authorisation for AstraZeneca-Oxford COVID-19 vaccine in the country.

Pune-based SII has collaborated with AstraZeneca and Oxford University for manufacturing the vaccine and is conducting phase-three clinical trials of the Covishield vaccine in India.

(Inputs from PTI)

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