While several nations are already reporting increasing COVID-19 instances, Adar Poonawalla, Chief Executive Officer of the Serum Institute of India (SII), stated on Tuesday that India is better equipped to fight it now than it was in 2020.
In an exclusive interview, Poonawalla said, “We are definitely far better prepared than we were in 2020. In 2020, we did not have the testing capabilities, the genomic sequencing. We didn’t have any of that. We didn’t have the hospital infrastructure that we have here today.”
The SII CEO praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s leadership during the COVID epidemic, saying that India has now reinforced healthcare, reported ANI.
“When you look at the position the country is in under PM Modi’s leadership, we have strengthened all these areas, vaccines treatments etc. In 2020, the pandemic caught everyone off guard globally,” he said.
Poonawalla went on to say that the Centre’s decision to enable all adults to receive the COVID-19 booster shot has rendered the country better equipped to deal with any subsequent wave.
He claimed on Wednesday that “Made in India” COVID-19 vaccines have provided more protection against the coronavirus infection than mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna. Speaking to ANI, the SII CEO said, “The COVID-19 vaccines which have been made in India are providing more protection against the disease than mRNA vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna.”
“It’s good that vaccines like Pfizer and Moderna are not introduced in India, because in countries like US people have taken 2nd and 3rd booster dose and still many are getting infected with Corona but in India, our vaccines have given good protection,” Poonawala stated.
On being asked about the export of the Covishield COVID-19 vaccine, the SII CEO informed that India has exported it to more than 80 countries so far.
“We have exported Covishield to more than 80 countries and 10 crore doses so far. Now, the demand for COVID vaccine has been reduced due to declining cases,” he added.
He also added that “In some countries where mRNA vaccine was given, many people were hospitalised and cases were reported in those countries because they were not providing good protection against the viral infection.”
On April 10, a precautionary third dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine was administered to those aged 18 and above at private vaccination clinics.
The Union Ministry of Health stated that anyone above the age of 18 and who has completed nine months after receiving the second dosage will be eligible for the precaution dose.
Notably, on April 9, SII reported that the price of their COVID vaccination Covishield for private hospitals had been reduced from Rs 600 to Rs 225 per dosage.
This service would be provided at all private immunisation clinics. The Centre has also permitted private COVID-19 vaccination centres to charge up to Rs 150 as a service charge for vaccination in addition to the cost of the vaccine.
The Union Health Ministry recorded 796 new COVID-19 cases in India in the previous 24 hours. As a result, the current caseload has increased to 11,889.