COVID .. Vaccine will take time to reach larger sections; all could get jabs by 2024, says Serum Institute of India in Pune


NEW DELHI: “Not enough of Covid-19 vaccines will be available for everyone in the world to be inoculated until the end of 2024,” the chief executive of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer is quoted as saying in a report from London.

Chief Executive of the Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla, was quoted by Financial Times, London, as saying that if the Covid-19 shot is a two-dose vaccine, as in the cases of measles or rotavirus, the world will need 15billon doses.

The family-run Serum Institute of India, based in Pune, aims to produce 1billion doses, of which half will be committed for use in India. The report said the Serum Institute might also partner with Russia to produce its Sputnik vaccine. The institute was set up in 1966.

The report noted that the company is the “world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by volume, producing 1.5bn doses of vaccines annually for use in more than 170 countries to protect against many infectious diseases, such as polio, measles and influenza.”

Poonawalla, son of Cyrus Poonawalla, India’s seventh-richest billionaire, spoke to the Times via video call from India.

There are others too who said reaching a vaccine to the larger spectrum of the common masses would take time. “Assuming there are two or more vaccines that are at least 75 per cent protective against infection, three-quarters of the world’s population could be vaccinated by mid-2023,” according to Peter Hale, the executive director of the Foundation for Vaccine Research in the US. He told Times: “That should be enough to curb the spread of infection and stall the pandemic — though not good enough to consign the virus to the dustbin of history.”

“In April, Poonawalla placed orders for 600m glass vials and other materials to prepare for mass production of the vaccine. Yet he fears that distribution in India, the country with the world’s fastest-growing coronavirus caseload, will be difficult because there is not a sophisticated cold chain system to transport the vaccine safely to its 1.4bn people,” the report said. IHN-NN


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