Covid vaccine to be available by April 2021: Poonawalla

Covid-19 vaccine should be available for public by April 2021: Adar Poonawalla

He added that probably by 2024, every Indian will get vaccinated

Adar Poonawalla. Credit: Twitter Photo/@adarpoonawalla

Serum Institute of India's CEO Adar Poonawalla said the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine should be available for healthcare workers and elderly people by around February 2021 and by April for the general public.

Speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit (HTLS), 2020, he added that the vaccine will be priced at a maximum of Rs 1,000 for two necessary doses for the public, depending on the final trial results and regulatory approvals.

Also read: Serum Institute of India decided to bet early on Covid-19 vaccine to save lives: Adar Poonawalla

Probably by 2024, every Indian will get vaccinated, he said.

SII has signed an agreement to manufacture the potential coronavirus vaccine developed by Jenner Institute of Oxford University in collaboration with British-Swedish pharma company AstraZeneca. It has also announced deals with two other American firms Novavax and Codagenix.

"It will probably take two or three years for every Indian to get inoculated, not just because of the supply constraints but because you need the budget, the vaccine, logistics, infrastructure and then, people should be willing to take the vaccine. So these are the factors that lead up to being able to vaccinate 80-90 per cent of the population. It will be 2024 for everybody, if willing to take a two-dose vaccine, to be vaccinated," Poonawalla said.  

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He added that as soon as the UK authorities and the European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA) approve it for emergency use, it will apply to the drug controller for emergency use authorisation in India.

"But that will be for a limited use for frontline workers, healthcare workers and elderly people," he added.

The phase-III trial of the Oxford vaccine is almost near completion. SII and ICMR are conducting clinical trials of the vaccine at 15 different centres across the country.

Five vaccine candidates are currently undergoing clinical trials in India. Among them, three that are in advanced stages of trials -- the Oxford-AstraZeneca candidate for which the Pune-based Serum Institute is conducting Phase 3 clinical trials, Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin which is also in Phase 3, and Russia’s Sputnik V which is expected to start Phase 2/3 trials next week.

(With agency inputs)