CEO of Serum Institute of India (SII), Adar Poonawalla has said that the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine will be priced at Rs 1000 and could be available in India by February 2021 for healthcare workers and senior citizens. He added that common people could get access to the vaccine by April.
“If everything goes according to plan, January-February 2021 is our deadline for making the vaccine available to frontline workers and to the general public by March, April next year,” Poonawalla said while speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit (HTLS), 2020 on Thursday. He also added that probably by 2024, every Indian will get inoculated.
Explaining why it would take two-three years for vaccinating the entire population, Poonawalla said, “you need the budget, the vaccine, logistics, infrastructure and then, people should be willing to take the vaccine.” He added, “It will be 2024 for everybody, if willing to take a two-dose vaccine, to be vaccinated.”
Talking about the cost of the vaccine, he said that two doses would cost around MRP Rs 1,000. He added that the government might be able to make the vaccine cheaper as it will be procuring a large volume. “We are still pricing it far cheaper and more affordable than other vaccines we have in the market today,” Poonawalla said.
Meanwhile, the enrollment process of 1,600 participants in the phase-III clinical trials for Covishield has been concluded by the SII and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). Notably, SII and the ICMR are working together on the clinical trials of the COVID-19 vaccine in India. ICMR has given its contribution by funding the clinical trial site fees, while Serum Institute has taken up the expenses for Covishield, the Indian name for the COVID-19 vaccine candidate developed by the University of Oxford in collaboration with AstraZeneca.
Poonawalla mentioned that the moment UK authorities and the European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA) approve the vaccine for emergency use, Serum Institute will apply to the drug controller for its authorisation and use in India.
As of now, Serum Institute and ICMR are conducting phase II and III clinical trials of Covishield at 15 different locations across India.