Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Serum Institute (SII) has alerted there won't be enough vaccines to combat the novel coronavirus for everyone in the world till 2024. "It is going to take four to five years until everyone gets the vaccine on this planet," Poonawalla told Financial Times in an interview.
The head of the world's largest vaccine manufacturer said that the world will need 15 billion doses of the COVID-19 shot if it is a two-dose vaccine. He further added that the long wait was due to pharma companies not scaling up their production levels at a faster pace to vaccinate the global population.
Pune-based pharma giant has partnered with five international pharmaceutical companies, including AstraZeneca and Novavax for developing a coronavirus vaccine and producing one billion doses. Of these one billion doses, half will be pledged to India. The company may also partner with Gamaleya Institute in Russia to produce the Sputnik V vaccine.
On SII's commitment to produce a billion doses, he said that the commitment has surpassed the capacity of other vaccine producers. "I know the world wants to be optimistic on it... (but) I have not heard of anyone coming even close to that (level) right now," he told the business daily.
Poonawalla's word of caution comes a day after the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said even though no date was fixed for launching the coronavirus vaccine, it may be ready by Q1 of 2021. In the first episode of his Sunday Samvaad- a social media platform, Harsh Vardhan said, "It may be ready in the first quarter of 2021."