New Delhi, September 26: A critical question on the COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy was raised on Saturday by Adar Poonawalla, who is the chief executive of world's largest vaccine manufacturer Serum Institute of India (SII). In a social media post in which he tagged the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), Poonawalla sought to know whether the Centre will have sufficient financial resources to buy and distribute doses as part of the mass vaccination plan. How Will India Distribute COVID-19 Vaccine Once Developed? Will It End Coronavirus?

Poonawalla claimed that an estimated amount of Rs 80,000 crore would be required to vaccinate all individuals in India. The amount needs to be allocated over the next one year, he said, as he asked whether the Centre would have the aforementioned financial resources available.

"Quick question; will the government of India have 80,000 crores available, over the next one year? Poonawalla questioned on Twitter, adding that this would be the amount that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) will require to buy and distribute the vaccine among all citizens of India.

"Because that's what @MoHFW_INDIA needs, to buy and distribute the vaccine to everyone in India. This is the next concerning challenge we need to tackle. @PMOIndia (sic)," the Serum Institute chief added, as he tagged the Office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Adar Poonawalla Raises Key Question on Twitter

Poonawalla's critical question comes days after Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan told the Parliament that a vaccine against COVID-19 is expected to be available in India by early 2021. PM Modi, in his Independence Day address, last month, had attempted to assure the country that the government is prepared with a strategy that would come into effect once the vaccine is rolled out. COVID-19 Vaccine For Everyone Not Possible Before 2024, Says Serum Institute of India Chief Adar Poonawalla.

"All preparations have been made. Mass production (of the vaccine) will begin once scientists give their nod. A roadmap is ready to ensure it reaches everyone in India in the shortest possible time," Modi said in his August 15 speech.

Poonawalla, who has partnered with the world's leading vaccine developer - Oxford-AstraZeneca, sounded a note of caution while speaking to a leading financial daily earlier this month. The SII chief, who is domestically testing the Oxford vaccine candidate, said it is not possible to vaccinate everyone in the world before 2024.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Sep 26, 2020 04:24 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website