Mumbai, November 28: Adar Poonawalla, the chief executive officer of Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), said the vaccine developer will seek emergency use authorisation of 'Covishield' in next two weeks. The government, he said, is likely to purchase 300-400 million doses of the vaccine candidate by July next year. COVID-19 Vaccine: Health Ministry Asks States, UTs to Take Steps to Prepare to Deal With Vaccination Side Effects.

Poonawalla's remarks came shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the SII manufacturing facility. The Institute will begin the production of Covishield - the vaccine candidate of Oxford University and AstraZeneca in India - from December onwards.

"PM is extremely knowledgeable now on vaccines & vaccine production. We were amazed at what he already knew. There was very little to explain to him, except for going into detail on different variable vaccines and the challenges that they may face ahead," Poonawalla said in a virtual press conference following Modi's visit.

"We have built the largest pandemic level facility in Pune and our new campus in Mandri. That was also showcased to the PM with a tour around the facility & a lot of detailed discussions," he added.

Emergency Use Authorisation Request in Two Weeks

"As of now, we don't have anything in writing with the govt of India on how many doses they will purchase but the indication is that it would be 300-400 million doses by July, 2021," he said, adding that India is the first priority for the vaccine developer, followed by other COVAX nations.

"Vaccine will be distributed initially in India, then we will look at the COVAX countries which are mainly in Africa. The UK and European markets are being taken care of by AstraZeneca and Oxford. Our priority is India and COVAX countries," the SII CEO added.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Nov 28, 2020 07:45 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website