HomeIndiaVaccines Work on Mutated Variants, Omicron-Specific Booster Can Be Launched if Needed:...

Vaccines Work on Mutated Variants, Omicron-Specific Booster Can Be Launched if Needed: Adar Poonawalla at Network18’s Sanjeevani Telethon

Serum Institute of India, CEO Adar Poonawalla on Sunday talked about the challenges that the company faced during India’s Covid-19 inoculation drive.

“Our journey is being followed from the first day since 2020, when the organisation partnered with Oxford and then Astra Zeneca for production of Covid-19 vaccines. We went through many challenges including finding the right partner, capital, manufacturing at risk, building these facilities ahead of time, and then ramping the production during the deadly second wave. It’s been a tremendous journey,” Poonawalla said.

He was speaking at Network 18’s culmination telethon, celebrating the ground-breaking achievements of the Sanjeevani- a shot of life campaign, which addressed vaccine hesitancy in worst-affected districts.

Adar also talked about strong rumours that the vaccines will fail to work on heavily mutated variants of Covid-19. “There’s no reason to believe right now, no idea why people make statements ahead of time. It causes fear and panic. Today’s vaccines do work against variants, it has worked against Delta. We got 81% efficacy, we now need to wait for data to talk about the new variants,” he said.

A lot of companies are working on Omicron-specific vaccines, if needed we will also launch it as a booster shot. However, right now the best strategy is to boost it using available vaccines which are licensed and are safe to use, he further stated.

Earlier this month, Poonawalla said that SII has decided to cut production of Covid-19 vaccine, Covishield, by as much as 50 percent as there aren’t any further orders from the Centre. “Reducing production by at least 50 percent starting next week as we have no further orders from the government,” said Poonawalla in an exclusive conversation with Shereen Bhan, Managing Editor, CNBC-TV18.

He, however, said he wants to keep excess capacity in case the nation needs a huge amount of stock. “Hope it never happens, but I don’t want to be in a situation where we can’t provide vaccines over the next 6 months,” Poonawalla said.

In an attempt to amplify India’s inoculation drive, Network 18 launched the campaign ‘Sanjeevani – A Shot Of Life’ on April 7, 2021, to increase awareness about the Covid-19 vaccination and the importance of receiving it. The initiative was a Federal Bank CSR drive that intends to reach each and every Indian with relevant and important information about the Covid-19 vaccine.

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