Pune: While government has announced Rs 4,500 crore to boost production of the covisheild and covaxin vaccines produced by Serum Institute and Bharat Biotech respectively, SII CEO said Adar Pooonwalla has said that it has borrowed money from banks to intensify vaccine manufacturing.
Earlier, Serum Institute had said that Covishield will be sold at Rs 400 a shot to states and Rs 600 per dose to private hospitals. Meanwhile, the Centre will receive the vaccine dose at Rs 150 each.
"The ₹ 3,000 crore amount we keep seeing in the media has been sanctioned. We believe it will come to us very soon. We have not waited but borrowed from the banks to get on with the ramp-up, with the assumption that this funding from the government will reach us very soon...this week," Adar Poonawalla told NDTV in an exclusive interview.
Talking about the ban on exports of the vaccine under government's 'Vaccine Maitri' programme, the SII CEO said that the situation will remain in place till July.
"There is no clarity on exports and we also right now feel that we should not look at exports for two months during these cases. Maybe in June-July, we could start looking at small exports starting again. Right now, we are going to prioritise the needs of the nation first," he said.
The SII CEO had also reached out to US President Joe Biden via Twitter, requesting him to lift the embargo ban on the export of raw materials needed for the production of vaccines in India.
"The US government responded through the media. We've seen reports of them saying they acknowledge and understand the issue. They are looking into it but (there is) no opening up as yet for the raw materials that they know very well exactly that are required...," he said.
The government on Monday announced that people above the age of 18 will be eligible for taking vaccine shots from May 1. Amid this, vaccine makers have been allowed to directly sell 50 per cent of their vaccine stock to either states or private hospitals.