Serum Institute of India, which shut down its production in December last year to avoid wastage, has got a stock of 200 million doses of the vaccine. “We’ve been requesting the government since December to allow boosters in our country. Globally, everyone’s taking boosters. We’re already a bit late on it. But we still have time before the next waves come. The waves in the future are never going to be as bad as what we saw last year, but nevertheless, if we can save a few thousand from serious hospitalisations or even death, it’s worth getting those boosters and taking care of the vulnerable or certain age groups, who could get affected by Covid,” he said.
Poonawalla said one of the major reasons why the firm has proposed to the government to reduce the gap between vaccines from 9 to 6 months is to meet the travel requirement of people and also because levels of antibodies decline during that period.
“There is scientific rationale to it and a lot of the experts in India have also agreed with that. I think very soon the government will reduce the gap from 9 from 9 to 6 months, which would be the right decision going forward for boosters,” said Poonawalla, who is hopeful that the momentum on vaccines will pick up pace, also said that children, although less vulnerable to the disease, need the vaccine to protect the vulnerable.
In response to a question, Poonawalla said he will only rest after he is able to convince countries to sign up to a global pandemic treaty that he’s drafting, to address various issues including having global regulatory standards, vaccine certificates and a free flow of raw materials and vaccines.