India might have 100 million doses of AstraZeneca PIc’s COVID-19 shot ready by December when an inoculation drive is expected to begin.
The Serum Institute of India Ltd., which has partnered to produce at least one billion doses, may get emergency authorisation from New Delhi by December, Adar Poonawalla was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times (HT).
That initial amount will go to India, Poonawalla said in an interview on Thursday, HT reported quoting Bloomberg. Full approval early next year will allow distribution on a 50-50 basis with the South Asian nation and Covax, the World Health Organization-backed body that’s purchasing shots for poor nations. Serum Insitute, which has tied up with five developers, has so far made 40 million doses of AstraZeneca’s vaccine in the past two months and aims to start manufacturing Novavax Inc.’s contender soon.
“We were a bit concerned it was a big risk,” Poonawalla was quoted as saying. But both AstraZeneca and Novavax’s shots “are looking pretty good.”
After talks with the government, Poonawalla said he is confident in their plans to get initial vaccines to the vulnerable and frontline workers. The challenge will be in getting it to India’s 1.3 billion population, especially in the vast countryside where past inoculation drives have struggled due to patchy health networks.
Poonawalla reiterated that it will take until 2024 to vaccinate the entire world and two years to see a real reduction in infections, due to affordability and manufacturing hurdles, the report added.