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COVID-19: India may start vaccination in Jan, expect normal life by Oct, says SII’s Adar Poonawalla

New Delhi: Adar Poonawalla CEO of Serum Institute of India (SII) informed that the COVID-19 vaccination drive in India is likely to begin by January 2021 as his firm was expecting to get emergency-use authorisation from the panel by month-end.

During his intercation at The Economic Times Global Business Summit on Saturday, Poonawalla said he expected everyone in India to be vaccinated by October 2021 which would pave the way for the return of the normal life.

“By this month-end, we might get an emergency licence, but the actual licence for wider use might come in at a later date. But we are confident that if the regulators approve, India’s vaccination drive can start by January 2021,” Adar Poonawalla said.

“Once 20% of India gets the coronavirus vaccine, we can hopefully see the confidence and sentiments coming back, and by September-October next year hopefully there will be enough vaccines for everyone and normal life can return,” he said.

Earlier, an expert committee of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) sought additional safety and efficacy data for coronavirus vaccine candidates from SII and Bharat Biotech after deliberating upon their applications seeking emergency use authorisation for the shots.

Adar Poonawalla has said the government wants to procure 300-400 million doses by July 2021 and Serum is preparing to manufacture enough coronavirus vaccines for the government as well as private markets.

As India gears up for the vaccination drive, the government said that a total of 100 people is expected to get the anti-CVOID-19 shots at each site per day.

The interim results of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine trials, published in The Lancet, shows that the vaccine protects against symptomatic disease in 70 per cent of cases, with vaccine efficacy of 62 per cent for those given two full doses, and of 90 per cent in those given a half, and then a full dose.