Poonawalla warns against reverting to business as normal

Adar Poonawalla, CEO of the Serum Institute of India, warned against going back to business as normal on Friday, stating that we “can’t afford to put a price tag on a citizen’s life” because the pandemic is still ongoing.

The chief executive defended his demand to reduce the vaccination gap from nine months to six months in order to prevent people from suffering the pains they experienced during the first two waves of the epidemic, rather than to make money since he has already made enough. 

“I’ve also supplied free immunizations to reduce waste, which I wouldn’t have done if my goal was to make money,” he explained. “My argument is that we can’t place a price on a person’s life, whether it’s an adult or a child.” When it comes to booster doses and jabbing the kids, making decisions on time, as we did during the second wave, is the order of the day.

“Unfortunately, for the key people who are meant to be making decisions on time, for the committees that are supposed to be meeting on time, it appears there is no longer any urgency,” Mr. Poonawalla said at a Times Network-organized Indian economic summit in Mumbai. “The impetus that got us here in the first place has vanished. “It appears to be business as usual for them,” he continued. Mr. Poonawalla stated that his company had halted production as of December 31, 2021, in order to avoid wasting resources.

He cited increased vaccine fatigue among the general public as the primary cause for the vaccines’ limited uptake, even when the company dropped the price from $600 to 225 per dosage. We currently have over 200 million vials on hand, he said.

Poonawalla said increasing booster dosage adoption is also necessary

Mr. Poonawalla stated that increasing booster dosage adoption is also necessary since individuals need to travel both internally and internationally, and several nations have made booster doses required for travel. On the need to reduce the time between two doses from nine to six months, he added that several studies have shown that when the vaccine gap is expanded, antibody levels drop.

Regarding the vaccine for children aged 7 to 11, he stated that they are awaiting government permission, which has yet to arrive despite the Covovax vaccine having received regulatory approvals and being in supply in Europe and Australia for some time. Despite the fact that the government as a whole recognizes the importance of healthcare, he noted, it appears that the urgency has been lost.

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