Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla said that he started feeling pressured after India was facing the Covid19 vaccine shortage. People were demanding and questioning him. He was threatened by some very powerful people who demanded a faster supply of Covishield (Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine).
Poonawalla and his family travelled to London after being targeted by these powerful people. He shared that this was the reason he decided to move to Britain for some time. “I cannot go back to the situation. I have to shoulder everything and it is too much. I can’t do it alone. I am doing my job but you cannot supply to all. Cannot look after the needs of X, Y, Z. Just because you are not able to supply to everyone, you have the threat of what these people might do,” shared the CEO. He added that you don’t want to guess what these people are going to do to you.
Indian government officials confirmed that Poonawalla has been given security to ensure his safety from potential threats. He has been given 'Y' security where Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) commandos will be there with him all the time. Whenever he travels somewhere, these commandos will be going along.
The SII CEO shared that India is facing an unprecedented demand for the Covid vaccine. The situation has left us tied up. We cannot do anything about it but we are still receiving threat calls. That is why he and his family had to move to London for some time. He explained that everyone in the country now wants the vaccine. They do not want to wait and understand that some people need it before them.
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.