Serum Institute chief Adar Poonawalla takes covid vaccine

Serum Institute of India’s (SII) chief executive Adar Poonawalla joined hundreds of healthcare workers in the country on Saturday to get Covid-19 vaccine on the inaugural day of the vaccination drive. Poonawalla posted a video of him taking the jab in Pune.

He tweeted: “I wish India & Sri @narendramodiji great success in launching the world’s largest COVID vaccination roll-out. It brings me great pride that #COVISHIELD is part of this historic effort & to endorse its safety & efficacy, I join our health workers in taking the vaccine myself.”

Poonawalla’s SII, the largest vaccine manufacturer globally, has provided 11 million Covishield doses to the Centre. These doses are being administered to healthcare workers in the first phase of the inoculation drive being carried out across the country.

The drugs regulatory body of India has currently approved two vaccines. Pune-based Serum Institute of India has developed the Covishield vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University while the Covaxin has been developed by Hyderabad’s Bharat Biotech in collaboration with the Indian Medical Council of research (ICMR) and National Institute of Virology.

Billed as the world’s largest vaccination program, covering the entire length and breadth of the country, the drive aims to first inoculate millions of its healthcare and frontline workers and reach an estimated 3 crore people by the end of its first phase.

In the first phase government and private sector health care workers, including Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) workers, will receive the vaccine.

The SII also plans to export Covishield doses to Brazil in the coming days. The company has stated that around two million doses will be exported to Brazil in two weeks.