COVID-19 Vaccine: SII to launch vaccine in the local market by April 2021

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Pune based Serum Institute of India (SII) will most probably begin the sale of its COVID-19 vaccine to the public from March-April next year amidst the great demand from large companies that want a bulk supply to provide for their employees. The initial supply will be available to bulk orders by the companies and then trickle down to the local market.

“The private market availability will probably be post March-April 2021 if the vaccine is found to be immunogenic and safe,” SII CEO Adar Poonawalla said in a response to Economic Times’ email query.

A matter expert said that the supply to private entities will begin once the government orders are met. The Health Ministry of India has asked SSI to set aside around 300 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine by June 2021 although India has yet not officially announced its purchase and distribution plans for the same.
SII had stated last week that it was in the process of applying for the emergency use authorisation of its COVID-19 vaccine which is currently in Phase 3 of its clinical trials.

“The government has indicated that certain critical industries can directly buy the vaccines if required,” ET was told by the CEO of a Hyderabad-based vaccine maker.

“I think the national technical advisory group on immunisation should come out with a policy. There should be clear guidance on whether private organisations can procure vaccines on their own and to whom can they make it available,” said Giridhara Babu of the Public Health Foundation.

“The government has to prioritise who to give the vaccine to premature access by private organisations can hinder the process,” he added.

SII has kept 40 million vaccine doses and announced that it would have made 100 doses by the end of December, which would be procured to the government to begin its vaccination programme. It has also promised to ramp up the production process to produce up to 400 million doses by March-April 2021.

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