MUMBAI: The Serum Institute of India (SII) has asked the Centre if they will have Rs 80,000 crore in their kitty to buy and distribute the Oxford Covid-19 vaccine next year.
Adar Poonawalla, CEO of SII which is producing the potential coronavirus vaccine with Oxford University and British pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca, raised the question on Twitter Saturday: “Quick question; will the government of India have Rs 80,000 crores available, over the next one year? Because that's what @MoHFW_INDIA needs, to buy and distribute the vaccine to everyone in India. This is the next concerning the challenge we need to tackle.”
Quick question; will the government of India have 80,000 crores available, over the next one year? 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— Adar Poonawalla (@adarpoonawalla) September 26, 2020
He further says, “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.”
The central health ministry official was surprised by the tweet of Poonawlla. They said that they have not received any official proposal from the Serum Institute of Indian regarding mass production, procurement, and distributions of the vaccine. "We are also clueless about this tweet," they said requested anonymity.
When contacted, Adar Poonawalla's office refused to elaborate on the intention behind sharing this information in the public domain. "Whatever Mr Poonawalla wanted to say, he had tweeted it and that is only information from their side."
More than 150 potential vaccines are being developed and tested globally. Candidates from Moderna Inc, Pfizer Inc, and AstraZeneca Plc are already in late-stage trials.
Earlier, SII was asked by the drug regulator to pause the Oxford vaccine trial in India after an adverse reaction was reported abroad.