As India's COVID-19 vaccine strategy becomes a point of debate, Adar Poonawalla has expressed confidence over Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision to protect Indian citizens from the ongoing pandemic.
The CEO of Serum Institute of India, the world's largest vaccine manufacturer by doses, has said that the arrangements made by the PM will take care of needs of all the Indians.
On Saturday, PM Modi addressed UNGA and assured that India's vaccine production and delivery capacities will be used to help all humanity in fighting the COVID-19 crisis.
"India provided medicines to more than 150 countries during the pandemic," he said, adding that "As the largest vaccine-producing country of the world, I want to assure you India will do everything possible to further global good."
India will do everything possible to further global good including the battle against COVID-19 pandemic.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) September 26, 2020
At the same time, India will always fight against terrorism, money laundering, narcotics and trade of illegal weapons. pic.twitter.com/p2ILZx0PwQ
Following PM's address, SII boss Poonawalla tweeted out: "We share and applaud your vision @narendramodi ji, on providing vaccines to the global community."
He added, "It is a proud moment for India, thank you for your leadership and support. It is clear that all your arrangements for India will take care of all needs for the Indian people."
The comments from Poonawalla come just a day after he questioned the Indian government's financing plan to distribute vaccines across the country.
"Will the government of India have [Rs.] 80,000 crores available, over the next one year?" he tweeted. "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."
Poonawalla added in the tweet, "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."
Serum Institute itself is working on five vaccine candidates, of which shots have been sourced from Oxford University, and the one from Novavax is moving through late-stage trials.
To recall, just a few days back, Poonawalla had also said that even if companies scale up manufacturing, COVID-19 vaccines will not become available to everyone on the planet before 2024.
He said, realistically, billions of dollars are required to procure and administer the vaccines across complex geographies, and that kind of funding has not been done by nations yet.
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