Leader of world’s largest vaccine maker flees India after threats from rich and powerful – fr

Leader of world’s largest vaccine maker flees India after threats from rich and powerful – fr

“Threats” are an understatement, said Adar Poonawalla

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The CEO of Serum Institute in India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, fled India, saying he and his family had been threatened by some of the most powerful people in the country.

In an interview with The Times of London, published on Saturday, May 1, Adar Poonawalla said he flew to London after receiving phone calls from chief ministers of India’s states, business leaders and others requiring that they receive the vaccine first.

“The ‘threats’ are an understatement,” Poonawalla said. “The level of expectation and aggressiveness is truly unprecedented.”

The Serum Institute produced more than 600 million doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine per month, distributed worldwide. It is also responsible for providing 90% of India’s vaccines, as the second wave of COVID-19 ravages the country, killing up to 4,000 people a day.

“It’s overwhelming. Everyone thinks he should get the shot. They can’t understand why someone else should get it before them, ”he said. “They say if you don’t give us the vaccine it won’t be good. It is not bad language. This is the tone. This is the implication of what they might do if I don’t comply.

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The situation, at one point, got so bad that several people surrounded Poonawalla’s company on several occasions and accused him of taking advantage of the COVID-19 vaccines, he said.

In April, the institute put a price tag on the supply of Covishield household vaccine, charging private hospitals Rs 600 (C $ 9.94) per vaccine dose supply and government and state hospitals Rs. 400 per dose (CAN $ 6.63).

“It all falls on my shoulders, but I can’t do it alone… I don’t want to be in a situation where you’re just trying to do your job, and just because you can’t meet the needs of X, Y or Z. , you really don’t want to guess what they’re going to do, ”Poonawalla told The Times.

He told the outlet that he planned to stay in London for an “extended period” but hours after the interview was published he tweeted that he would be back in a few days.

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The pharmaceutical company plans to start production of the vaccines in London in the coming days, according to Poonawalla.

“There will be an announcement in the next few days,” he said.


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