Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India (SII), on Saturday expressed his concerns around production and distribution of coronavirus vaccine in the country. Poonawalla took to Twitter to ask if the Central government has Rs 80,000 crore available with it over next one year for distribution of COVID-19 vaccine to all people in India.
"Quick question; will the government of India have 80,000 crores available, over the next one year?" Poonawalla asked in a tweet. "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," the CEO of the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines by volume tweeted.
"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," Poonawalla said in another tweet.
The SII has partnered with British-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca for manufacturing the COVID-19 vaccine candidate, developed by the University of Oxford.
Earlier this month, the SII had paused the clinical trials of the vaccine candidate in the country.
The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) had on September 11 directed the SII to suspend any new recruitment in the phase-II and III clinical trial of the vaccine till further orders after AstraZeneca paused the trials in other countries because of "an unexplained illness" in a participant in the study.
However, on September 15, the DCGI gave permission to the SII to resume clinical trials of the vaccine.