Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla is hopeful of receiving approval for market authorisation by the month-end. He believes that once the approval comes, vaccination drive in India could start by next month. Poonawalla also said that he expects most people to get vaccinated by October next year after which normal life could return.
Speaking at The Economic Times Global Business Summit, Poonawalla said, "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 that the health ministry is planning to vaccinate 20-30 per cent of India's population to reach a critical mass. "Once 20% of India gets the 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," Poonawalla said.
Poonawalla said that the company is preparing to manufacture enough vaccines for the government as well as private markets. He said that the government wants to procure 300-400 million doses by July 2021.
Serum Institute has also signed an agreement with Novavax to manufacture coronavirus vaccines. It aims to finish Phase 3 clinical trial for Novavax by first quarter of 2021.
While Poonawalla believes normal life could return by October, states are planning to give only 100 anti-coronavirus shots at the vaccination sites each day. States are ramping up infrastructure based on SOPs by the health ministry. Meanwhile, each person who gets a shot will be monitored for 30 minutes after inoculation.