NEW DELHI: After their much-publicised spat, Krishna Ella and Adar Poonawalla, who head Bharat Biotech and Serum Institute of India respectively, issued a joint statement on Tuesday pledging their commitment towards a smooth rollout of COVID-19 vaccines for India and the world.
“Both companies respect the great work being carried out by each other and put behind us the miscommunication and misunderstanding caused during the past week,” they said. According to sources, this came after a nudge from top functionaries in the Union government.
Covaxin by Bharat Biotech and Covishield by Serum Institute of India, which has made the vaccine after technology transfer by Oxford University-AstraZeneca, have been granted restricted emergency use permission by the Central Drugs Standards Control Organisation.
Poonawalla had said apart from his vaccine, only vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna had shown efficacy while others including Covaxin were only “safe, like water.”
Retorting to this, Ella in a press conference on Monday said his company had carried out a 200% honest trial in the national interest, without any financial aid, and did not deserve the backlash.
The joint statement, aimed at presenting a united effort towards the government’s upcoming immunisation drive against COVID-19 said, “Vaccines are a global public health good and they have the power to save lives and accelerate the return to economic normalcy at the earliest.”
“Now that two COVID-19 vaccines have been issued EUA in India, the focus is on manufacturing, supply and distribution, such that populations that need it the most receive high quality, safe and efficacious vaccines,” said the statement undersigned by Ella and Poonawalla.
It added, “Both our companies are fully engaged in this activity and consider it our duty to the nation and the world at large to ensure a smooth rollout of vaccines. Each of our companies continue their COVID-19 vaccines development activities as planned.”
The statement added that they are fully aware of the importance of vaccines for people and countries alike and hereby communicate their joint pledge to provide global access for their COVID-19 vaccines.