Adar Poonawalla, CEO of vaccine maker Serum Institute of India, said that the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine is expected to be available for health-workers and elderly people by around February 2021 and for the general public somewhere around the month of April.
It will be priced less than Rs 1,000 for two necessary doses for the public. However, the vaccine is still waiting for the final trial results and regulatory approvals.
Adar Poonawalla was speaking at the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit, 2020. He estimated that by 2024, every Indian would get vaccinated.
He said that for every Indian to get vaccinated, it will require two or three years more. Such a long time is needed not just because of the supply limitations but also because one needs the budget, the vaccine, logistics, infrastructure and then, most importantly people should not be hesitant to take the vaccine.”
Discussing the price, he said that it will cost around USD 5-6 per dose with an MRP of around ₹1,000 for the two necessary doses.
The Indian government will be getting it at a far less price at around USD 3-4 as it will be buying in a large volume and so, it will be priced for the government similar to COVAX. He said that their company will price the vaccine more cheaper and affordable than other vaccines in the market.
He claimed that the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine is working well with the elderly people too. However, it is not known how these vaccines will function in the long term.
Poonawalla said that as soon as the vaccine gets approval for the emergency use by the UK authorities and the European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA), it will apply to the drug controller in India for emergency use authorisation.
His company plans to vaccinate first the elderly people and others who are the most vulnerable. Children have to wait until they have sufficient safety data.
CEO of the Serum Institute of India assured that the Oxford vaccine will be affordable, safe and could be stored at a temperature of two to eight degrees Celsius.
He said that Serum Institute plans to make around 10 crore doses a month from February.