Serum Institute of India (SII) Chief Executive Officer Adar Poonawalla on Sunday assured that the Covishield vaccine, which has received approval for restricted emergency use, is "very safe". The Pune-based vaccine major has entered into a collaboration with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca to manufacture the vaccine. On Sunday, the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved Covishield and Bharat Biotech's Covaxin for restricted emergency use.
"There might be many safe vaccines but our vaccine has been administered to thousands everywhere, including in UK, Brazil and South Africa. Efficacy trials have been conducted for only 3 vaccines - Pfizer, Moderna and Covishield. Other vaccines are also safe but their efficacy is not known. Our vaccine is very safe," Poonawalla told India TV.
He said the company has already stockpiled around 50 million dosages of the vaccine and aims to produce up to 100 million dosages per month by March next year. The approval by the DCGI was given on the basis of recommendations submitted by a COVID-19 subject expert committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
"We will roll out the vaccine in 7-10 days of government's direction," Poonawalla said. The SII CEO said the vaccine will be available in markets only post April this year. "We can only sell the vaccine to the government and not the private market. Those who want to purchase can avail after March-April for Rs 1000. We are selling this to the government at a special price of Rs 200 so that they can distribute it for free," he told India TV.