Serum Institute of India (SII) CEO Adar Poonawalla on Saturday said the government needs to have Rs 80,000 crore available over the next one year to buy and distribute coronavirus vaccine to everyone in the country.
Serum Institute is one of the companies developing COVID-19 vaccine and is conducting clinical trials of AstraZeneca Oxford vaccine candidate in the country.
Tagging the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) in a tweet, Poonawalla asked, "Quick question; will the government of India have 80,000 crores available, over the next one year? Because that's what @MoHFW_INDIA needs, to buy and distribute the vaccine to everyone in India. This is the next concerning challenge we need to tackle. @PMOIndia."
"I ask this question, because we need to plan and guide, vaccine manufacturers both in India and overseas to service the needs of our country in terms of procurement and distribution," he added.
Earlier this month, AstraZeneca breifly paused the trials because of its vaccine candidate following 'an unexplained illness' in a participant in the study.
Serum Institute has entered into a new partnership with international vaccine alliance Gavi and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate manufacturing and delivery of up to 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for India as well as other low and middle-income countries (LMICs).
The collaboration will provide upfront capital to SII to help them increase manufacturing capacity now so that, once a vaccine, or vaccines, gains regulatory approval and WHO prequalification, doses can be produced at scale for distribution to India and LMICs as part of the Gavi COVAX AMC mechanism as early as the first half of 2021," SII said in a statement in August.
The company has set an affordable ceiling price of USD 3 (around Rs 225) per dose, it added.
The funding will support at-risk manufacturing by SII for candidate vaccines from AstraZeneca and Novavax, which will be available for procurement if they are successful in attaining full licensure and WHO prequalification, the statement said.
(With PTI inputs)