Days after the Drugs Controller General of India approved the emergency use of indigenously made COVID-19 vaccines—Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Serum Institute of India’s Covishield—both the vaccine manufacturers have come together to pledge towards a ‘smooth rollout’ of COVID-19 vaccines to India and the world.
In a joint statement issued by SII CEO Adar Poonawalla and Bharat Biotech’s Chairman Dr Krishna Ella, the two vaccine manufacturers stated that “the more important task in front of them is saving the lives and livelihoods of populations in India and the world.”
The two companies affirmed that the smooth rollout of the vaccine was their duty towards the nation and they are fully engaged in carrying it out earnestly. Both the companies are continuing their COVID-19 vaccine development activities as planned.
The also reiterated that they are “fully engaged in this activity and consider It our duty to the nation and the world at large to ensure a smooth rollout of vaccines.” Each of our Companies continues their COVI0-19 vaccines development activities as planned.
“Now that the two COVID-19 vaccines have been issued EUA (emergency use authorisation), the focus is on manufacturing, supply and distribution, such that population that need it most receive high quality, safe and efficacious vaccines,” the statement read.
SII and Bharat Biotech sparred over the efficacy of their COVID-19 vaccines
The joint statement also came days after Serum Institute of India’s Adar Poonawalla stirred an unwarranted controversy by claiming that only three vaccines passed all the scientific evaluations — Pfizer-BioNTech, Modera and Oxford-AstraZeneca — and that while the others were safe, “safe like water”, their effectiveness had not yet been evaluated.
Following Poonawalla’s veiled attack against Covaxin, the chairman of Bharat Bharat Biotech chairman Krishna Ella on Monday said, “We do 200 per cent honest clinical trials and yet we receive backlash. If I am wrong, tell me. Some companies have branded me like water.”
Notwithstanding their bickering, the coming together of Serum Institute of India and Bharat Biotech holds significance amidst attacks from several quarters over the efficacy of the vaccines made in India. Several politicians, including so-called experts, have slammed both the vaccine-makers and raised questions regarding the processes adopted by them to build and test the vaccines.
DCGI rubbishes rumours of indigenously-made vaccines being unsafe for the public
Many of them have sought to fuel suspicions that both the vaccines are not clinically tested like the Western-developed vaccines and have raised questions on the Drugs Controller General of India for rushing into authorising their emergency use.
However, the DCGI has rubbished the rumours of vaccines being unsafe as unfounded and groundless and claimed that both the vaccines are safe for the public.
On Sunday, Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) approved Serum’s Oxford COVID-19 vaccine ‘Covishield’, and an indigenously developed Covaxin of Bharat Biotech for restricted emergency use in the country, paving the way for a massive inoculation drive. The approval was given based on recommendations given by a COVID-19 Subject Expert Committee (SEC) of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).