India which is struggling to handle the coronavirus second wave crisis is laying claim to Serum Institute of India vaccines. The company has had production problems that have kept it from expanding output at a time when India is in badly need of the vaccine. In the meanwhile, Adar Poonawalla left for London amid the crisis. He told a British newspaper he had received threats from politicians and some of India’s “most powerful men,” inclduing Chief Ministers were demanding that he supply them with vaccines. He also asked for Z plus category security from the government as he feared death threats when he comes back to India.
In an interview with The New York Times, Poonawalla defended his company and its ambitions. He had no choice but to hand over vaccines to the government, he said. He cited a lack of raw materials, which he has partially blamed on the United States. Making vaccines, he said, is a painstaking process that requires investment and major risks. He said he would return to India when he had finished his business in London. He also acknowledged that the Serum Institute alone doesn’t have the capacity to vaccinate India anytime soon, much less shoulder the burden of inoculating the world’s poor. “The problem is nobody took the risk that I did early on,” he said. “I wish that others did.”
He further shared that the move to London is not just related to safety and security but also with manufacturing. SII now plans to set up manufacturing in foreign countries as well. This is to get more vaccine in less time. As of now, the production in Pune is going well and at a faster pace. He will look into it upon his arrival back in India.
As of now, SII is doing everything it can. Poonawalla admits that he is rather disappointed with how people are reacting. We are trying to do everything we can and people are still not understanding. Instead of supporting us, they are blaming us.
This was his last tweet before leaving the country.
Amongst multiple reports it is important that correct information be shared with the public. pic.twitter.com/nzyOZwVBxH— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) May 3, 2021
Adar Poonawalla has told the Maharashtra government that it would not be able to supply Covishield doses to the state until May 26, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had a telephone conversation with the Serum chief in London on the issue and was informed that they could not give the doses till May 26.”
In January, when India launched its own vaccination program while also beginning exports, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged its vaccines would “save humanity.” The lack of preparedness for the upcoming second wave and the sudden rise in COVID cases and the shortage of vaccines has led to catastrophic tragedy in the country. And now India cannot save itself despite having the world's largest vaccine maker at its disposal. (Source: Deccan Herald)