SII CEO Leave For UK Amid Aggressive Pressure For COVID-19 Vaccine, Likely To Begin Outside India Production

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The rising number of the Novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 cases and demand of the vaccines,  forced Adar Poonawalla to leave for the United Kingdom (U.K.) 

On the 2nd of May, Adar Poonawalla took to Twitter and said, “I’m staying here for an extended period because I don’t want to go back to that situation.”  He said, “I don’t want to be in a situation where you are trying to do your job and just because you can’t supply the needs of X, Y or Z, you really don’t want to guess what they are going to do.”  In another tweet, Mr. Adar Poonawalla said, “Everything falls on my shoulders, but I can’t do it alone.”

The continuous cry of state governments and Central Government amid the rising number of COVID-19 cases, created a pressure on the SII.  The company’s CEO also alleged threat calls and demands for an excessive amount of production, which is currently impossible. 

Also read: COVID-19 Pandemic Second Wave In India, All You Need To Know

In an interview to a media source, Adar Poonawalla said, “The level of expectation and aggression is really unprecedented.  It’s overwhelming.  Everyone feels they should get the vaccine.  They can’t understand why someone else should get it before them.”  He also explained the tone and nature of the threats he is getting for not supplying or able to produce the demanded number of vaccines.  He said, “My Head Would Be Chopped Off. 

 It’s not a foul language.  It’s the tone.  It’s the implication of what they might do if I don’t comply.  It’s taking control.  It’s coming over and basically surrounding the place and not letting us do anything unless we give in to their demands.”  He added, “They are saying if you don’t give us the vaccine it’s not going to be good.”

When asked what his plans were regarding the product, the Serum Institute of India Chief said they are planning to begin production outside India and would soon return to India. 

When asked about his views regarding the recent debate over the organised Kumbh Mela and election rallies, he refused to answer out of fear.  He said, “If I give you the right answer, or any answer, my head would be chopped off.  I can’t comment on the elections or Kumbh Mela.  It’s too sensitive…I don’t think even God could have forecast it was going to get this bad.”

In another question regarding the new pricing of the vaccine and making profit out of it, Adar Poonawalla said that Covisheild would be the most affordable vaccine on the planet even at a higher price.  He said, “We have done the best we can without cutting corners or doing anything wrong or profiteering.  I’ll wait for history to judge.  “I’ve always had this sense of responsibility to India and the world because of the vaccines we were making, but never have we made a vaccine so needed in terms of saving lives.” 

Meanwhile, in the U.K.,  Adar Poonawalla met  a few stakeholders and discussed the production of Covisheild.  Soon after the meeting, he took to Twitter and tweeted about his successful meeting with the U.K., stakeholders.  He also said, “There’s going to be an announcement in the next few days.”


The announcement is expected to be the beginning of Covisheild production outside India, including Britain.   However, an official announcement regarding the same is awaited. 

In addition, as per the statement of the SII CEO Adad Poonawalla, India is likely to face a vaccine shortage for the next 2-3 months.  He said, “There were no orders, we did not think we needed to make more than 1 billion doses a year.”

The Institute is currently producing only 60-70 million of doses, which would increase to 100 million in the next 2-3 months. 

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