New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: In a step closer towards the cure of deadly coronavirus, India is likely to get as many as 100 million shots of Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine by December this year for an inoculation drive across the country that may also start the same month, said Adar Poonawalla, CEO of Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), which has partnered with AstraZeneca to produce at one billion doses.

According to media reports, if the final stage trial data of the Oxford-AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine candidate give effective protection from the coronavirus, SII may get emergency approval from the central government by next month.

Poonawalla, according to a Bloomberg report, said that the initial amount of vaccine shots will be produced for India, but distributed on a 50-50 basis between New Delhi and Covax, which is buying the doses for poor nations and has the WHO backing.

Last month, Poonawalla had said that the Serum Institute of India may explore an emergency license for the "Covishield" coronavirus vaccine in India based on the trials conducted by Oxford-AstraZeneca in the UK. Speaking about the chances of the Covid-19 vaccine being available for use by the end of 2020, the SII chief had said that the Oxford-AstraZeneca is on the verge of completion and if they share their data and assure safety, he will explore emergency license options based on UK trials.

When asked about the cost of the vaccine, Poonawalla said that his firm is in a conversation with the government and assured affordable rates. "We are in conversation with the government regarding the cost of the vaccine and it is too soon to confirm. But it will be quite affordable for sure," he said.

Posted By: Shashikant Sharma