Need Rs 3,000 Cr To Ramp Up Vaccine Production: SII’s Adar Poonawalla

New Delhi: The Serum Institute of India (SII) that is manufacturing the Covishield vaccine needs around Rs 3,000 crore and three months to scale up production, its CEO Adar Poonawalla told NDTV on Tuesday evening.

SII had agreed to supply the first 10 crore doses at heavily subsidised rates in January. Poonawala told NDTV that the company had make bigger profits than it was now, so it could “reinvest in the production line and facilities” and be able to make more doses quickly.

“We are supplying the vaccine in the Indian market at approximately Rs 150-160. The average price of the vaccine is approximately $20 (Rs 1,500)… because of the Modi government’s request, we are providing vaccines at subsidised rates… It is not that we are not making profits… but we are not making a super profit, which is key to reinvesting,” Poonawalla told NDTV.

“This (the amount needed) would be roughly Rs 3,000 crores. The process takes 85 days, so it would be just under three months before we scale up operations,” he added.

Poonawalla said that the SII and the vaccine industry was “100 per cent with the Government of India” at this time, and that it was necessary to supply the drug to every Indian. However, he also admitted that production facilities at SII are “very stressed, quite frankly”.

“Nowhere in the world is a vaccine manufacturer providing at such subsidised rates. Like I said… we are making profits, but not enough to reinvest… We are supply two million doses per day. All of it is being given to the government, currently. So far, we have given over 100 million doses to India and exported over 60 million,” he explained to NDTV.


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