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    On track to deliver 200 million Covishield doses per month, says Adar Poonawalla

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    On track to deliver 200 million Covishield doses per month, says Adar Poonawalla

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    We are going to be delivering nearly 200 million doses a month, which is what the UnionMinistry of Health has ordered, said Adar Poonawalla.

    India's daily COVID count remains about 30,000 for the 15th day in a row. However, higher recoveries have resulted in the active cases dropping below 3.2 lakh, hitting the lowest level in nearly a month.
    On the vaccination front, the number of doses administered has now crossed 81 crore. Over 16.5 crore people, almost 47 percent of the population have received at least a single dose, of these 20.5 crore people are now fully vaccinated.
    Of the total inoculations so far, Serum Institute’s Covishield accounts for more than 71.5 crore doses, that's over 88 percent of the jabs administered. This is followed by a little over nine crore doses of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Russia Sputnik, which is a distant third at less than 9 lakh jabs. It is evident Covishield has done the heavy lifting so far in India's vaccination drive, and that's unlikely to change in the near future. Government sources say they expect 20 crore Covishield and 3.5 crore Covaxin doses to be supplied in October.
    To talk about the plan that Serum has for vaccinating India, as well as expanding its production facilities and its tie-up with Sputnik, CNBC-TV18’s Shereen Bhan caught up with Adar Poonawalla, CEO Of Serum Institute of India (SII).
    Poonawalla said that it has been an incredible journey. We have been scaling up, other manufacturers have also been scaling up. A lot of credit goes to all the healthcare workers, and the government officials and machinery that has actually been able to administer the jobs, he added.
    “As you rightly mentioned roughly 50 percent - thanks to all the manufacturers put together is what India has reached with one dose. I think by December, you're going to see that change even more drastically, we are going to be delivering close to 200 million doses a month, which is what the Union Ministry of Health has ordered and we are on track to do that,” he said, adding that post that they would see if there is any further need for them to supply any more doses beyond that also.
    However, once we reach a certain level of vaccine coverage, we can move on to strengthening other things, our health system needs some attention, he added.
    “In March, April, we had estimated that in June, July, we would be making a certain amount, which was around 100 million doses a month. Based on the surge in the second wave and the chaos that the nation was facing, we decided to sacrifice all our other future vaccines, monoclonal, which is why we did a tie-up with Biocon also, so that, we can leverage their capabilities and not sacrifice too much of the pipeline of our new products as well,” said Poonawalla.
    Covisheild has been well accepted. It has been administered to more than 700 million human beings without any major serious effects, side effects. So that's why we are targeting that,” said Poonawalla.
    On emergency use authorisation for Covovax in India, he said that they would apply by the end of this year or the first quarter 2022 because the trial in India still needs to be completed, and then that data has to be submitted to the drug controller’s office.
    Watch the accompanying video for the full interview
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