In his first comments since it was provided with Category Y security by the Indian government earlier this week, Poonawala told “The Times” in an interview about receiving aggressive calls from some of India’s most powerful people, demanding supplies from Covishield – – vaccine. Oxford / AstraZeneca COVID-19 produced by the Serum Institute in India.
The 40-year-old businessman said this pressure was largely behind his decision to travel to London to be with his wife and children.
“I will stay here (London) for a long time because I don’t want to go back into this situation. Everything falls on my shoulder but I can’t do it on my own … I don’t want to be in,” Bonawala told the newspaper, just because you can’t provide for X, Y or Z needs You don’t really want to guess what they’re going to do. ”
According to Indian government officials, Poonawala has been protected in light of “potential threats” to him. They said that armed commandos from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will be with him every time they travel to any part of the country, and added that the ‘Y’ security cover will require the mobilization of around 4-5 armed commandos.
“The level of anticipation and aggression is really unprecedented,” Bunawala said. “It’s overwhelming. Everyone feels they should get the vaccine. They can’t understand why anyone else got it before them.”
The businessman indicated in the interview that his move to London is also linked to business plans to expand vaccine manufacturing to countries outside India, which may include the likes of the United Kingdom.
“There will be an announcement in the next few days,” he said when asked about Britain as one of the production bases outside India.
According to the newspaper, by the time the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine was approved in January this year, the Serum Institute of India (SII) had increased its annual production capacity from 1.5 to 2.5 billion doses at a cost of US $ 800 million, and was stockpiled. 50 million doses of coffeeshield.
The company began exporting to 68 countries, including Britain, where India seemed to be over the worst, until the situation worsened in recent weeks.
“We are really gasping for all the help we can get,” Bunawala said in an interview with The Times.
“I don’t think even God could have predicted that things would get this bad,” he said.
India is struggling with a second wave of the epidemic as more than 300,000 cases of novel coronavirus have been reported daily in the past few days, and hospitals are suffering from a shortage of medical and family oxygen.
The daily Corona virus toll in India passed the bleak phase of four lakh on Saturday, while the death toll rose to 2111853 with 3,523 new deaths.
Regarding the accusation of profiteering due to the recent rise in the cost of Covishield, he called it “completely incorrect” and added that Covishield will remain “the most expensive vaccine on the planet” even at a higher price.
“We did our best without belittling, doing anything wrong or profiting,” he said. “I’ll wait until history rules.”
He added: “I have always had this sense of responsibility towards India and the world because of the vaccines that we are making, but we have never made a vaccine that is so necessary in order to save lives.”
On April 21, the Serum Institute announced a price of 600 rupees per dose for private hospitals and 400 rupees for state governments and for any new contract by the central government.
The announcement came after widespread criticism of the company’s pricing policy as it sold the initial doses of Coffeeshield to the central government at Rs 150 a dose. Many countries objected to the different prices for vaccines.
Later, on Wednesday, SII announced that the price of the vaccine it plans to sell to the states has been reduced to 300 rupees per dose.