The Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on Saturday said that the country's vaccination drive against the COVID-19 infection is likely to start by January 2021. He added that his company is expecting to get emergency-use authorisation of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine by the month-end.
Speaking at The Economic Times Global Business Summit, Poonawalla further added that we can return to our normal lives by September-October next year.
"By this month-end, we might get an emergency licence [for the coronavirus vaccine], 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," Poonawalla said.
He added, "Once 20% of India gets the coronavirus vaccine, we can hopefully see the confidence and sentiments coming back, and by September-October next year hopefully there will be enough vaccines for everyone and normal life can return."
On Monday, SII 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.
"As promised, before the end of 2020, @SerumInstIndia has applied for emergency use authorisation for the first made-in-India vaccine, COVISHIELD," Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawala said in a tweet. He further added, "This will save countless lives, and I thank the Government of India and Sri @narendramodi ji for their invaluable support".
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), SII has already manufactured 40 million doses of the vaccine under the at-risk manufacturing and stockpiling license it obtained from the DCGI.
Meanwhile, heath experts on Sunday said that 21 days is an ideal gap between the first and the second booster dose, and those who get vaccinated have to maintain the same health hygiene as they are supposed to do sans vaccine for a certain time period.
According to Dr Manoj Goel, Director, Pulmonology at Fortis Hospital in Gurugram, after taking the first dose, the second dose has to be ideally taken on the 21st day. "After the vaccination, one can resume their normal day to day activities. In between also, there are no guidelines to sit at home and people can carry on their usual activities by taking the basic precautions like social distancing, wearing a mask and frequent sanitising of hands," Goel told IANS.
Besides, Union Health Ministry Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had said that 30 crore people have been listed in prioritised population groups, which involves one crore healthcare workers, two crore personnel from the police department, armed forces, home guard, civil defence organisation and 27 crore people above the age of 50 and below 50 with co-morbidities.
(With IANS and PTI inputs)