Poonawala said in a tweet: “We had an excellent meeting with all our partners and stakeholders in the UK. Meanwhile, I am delighted to report that COVISHIELD production is in full swing in Pune. I look forward to reviewing operations upon my return in a few days.” .
India launched the third phase of its COVID-19 vaccination campaign for those in the age group of 18 to 45 on Saturday despite the failure of the vaccination process in some states due to a lack of vaccines.
While Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Jammu and Kashmir among other states and federal territories launched the vaccination campaign, Karnataka and Odisha were only a symbolic beginning of it.
Poonawala on Saturday spoke of the pressures being put in place due to the production of COVID-19 vaccines to meet the ever-increasing demand in India as the country struggles during a second devastating wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
In his first comments since it was provided with Category Y security by the 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 of Covishield – Oxford / AstraZeneca COVID- vaccine. 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.
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. Last week, SII announced a price cut of the vaccine it plans to sell to the states to 300 rupees per dose from 400 previous rupees.
The price cut came after widespread criticism of its pricing policy as it sold initial doses of Covishield to the central government at Rs 150 a dose.
Covishield is the most widely used COVID-19 vaccine in India. It is being used together with Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin by the government for vaccination in the country.